As for me, I absolutely adore fish. Both of my parents hail from the lovely and sunny state of Hawaii, where fish is practically a staple. My dad has lots of stories of going out fishing with his brothers, and whenever we go back, my family loves nothing more than to visit the Suisan Fish Market for the tuna, opihi (like limpets, but much better) and anything else they’ve got for sale that day. It’s heaven to look at, and the local boys working there aren’t bad either!
From a very young age, I learned to love fish. It hasn’t always been that way, though, pheasants. Believe it or not, there was a time when I wouldn’t touch the stuff. I turned my nose up at it, believing it to be disgusting, nasty stuff…that wasn’t, however, the case with lobster. And my dad is a devious man when he puts his mind to it.
I can’t recall exactly what age I was when it happened, but we went out for supper one night after many, many nights of coaxing on my parents’ behalf to get me to love those delicious morsels from the sea. I wouldn’t have it. At this restaurant (a seafood restaurant) we all ordered. I was quite excited, because although I didn’t like fish, I was mad for all other sea critters: shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, clams. I’d scarf them down like they were going to be my last meal. And, like any young child, I didn’t pay a whit of attention to my parents’ orders. The coloring mat I’d been giving was much, much more interesting.
So, the food came, and I was all a-bounce for it. My dad, casual and wonderful man that he is, cut up his food, and offered me a forkful. I sniffed and turned away.
“I don’t want that!” I said. “You know I don’t like fish.”
“I ordered lobster,” My dad said, and, more excited than not, I gleefully shoved the fork in my mouth, chewed, and swallowed. Then, I frowned. “Did you not like it?” He asked.
“I liked it a lot. But it doesn’t taste a thing like lobster. Are you sure that’s what they gave you?”
“Not at all. Because I ordered fish.”
Oh, pheasants, can you imagine the heartbreak, the horror I felt at this deception? I pouted. I frowned. I couldn’t believe this. But it tasted so good, pheasants. So, so buttery, smooth, and with just the right touch of salt. And thus began my love affair with all things piscine.
So, it was with great excitement that I headed with the girlf (from here on out, she requests to be known as M. I’ll never be able to think of her as anyone else but the James Bond character again) down to Costco, that wondrous land of plenty. We were headed for the fish section. About a month before, we’d purchased some lovely tilapia fillets, which were completely and utterly delightful. My dad can say what he will about tilapia, but it’s absolutely delicious to me. However, this time, M picked up a pack of Dover sole fillets.
“How about this?” She said. I turned away.
“Sole tastes like nothing,” I replied. “Why not go with the tilapia again?”
“Sole is cheaper,” M insisted. She loves it when things are “cheaper.” I shrugged.
“Fine, but it won’t taste like much.”
So, tonight’s supper is, after everything, going to be stuffed sole. And not just any stuffed sole, pheasants. Don’t ever think I go with “just” anything. No. We’re stuffing this sole with garlic-scented wilted spinach, baking it, and topping that puppy off with an aioli sauce to knock your socks off.
Pheasant’s Spinach-Stuffed Sole Fillets
2 Dover sole fillets
1 1/2 cups packed fresh spinach, washed and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper, optional
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 whole lemon, rolled and halved
1/4 tsp roasted garlic oil, optional
1/2 tsp butter
To begin with, you’ll want to put a pan on medium heat, and add the olive oil and garlic. Wait for the garlic to saute, and when it’s slightly golden and extremely fragrant, add the spinach. Toss the greens in the oil and garlic, coating everything. Allow it to wilt down, then take the pan off the heat and divide the spinach into two equal portions.
Placing the sole on a foil-lined, Pam’d, rimmed baking sheet, place half the spinach (make sure it’s cooled, so you don’t burn yourself!) on one sole fillet, and squeeze some of the lemon juice onto it. Then, roll it up like you’re making a pig in a blanket. You can secure it with a toothpick if you like. Once both fillets are all nice and roly-poly, place the butter and garlic oil in a small dish, whisking them together until they’re blended (or, to skip this, just nuke it for about ten seconds.) Then, divide and baste each fillet with half that beautiful mixture. Sprinkle on some cayenne pepper and parsley, if you like, then stick them in the oven for 6-7 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque and looks cooked. Once they’re out, let them rest for a moment. Sprinkle with more lemon juice, dollop on some aioli if you please, and dig in!
Servings: 1 ~ Calories: 250 ~ Fat: 9g ~ Carbs: 9.5g ~ Fiber: 3g ~Protein: 34g ~ Sodium: 612mg
What types of fresh, regional fish do you prefer?