As the Equitorial sun pushes the mercury to soaring degrees, cooking and eating has become quite a chore. All I want to do is plunge into an ice-cold pool and hydrate myself with iced drinks. But alas! cannot survive on beverages alone; manna cannot be ignored. Hence my mantra for these unbearable summer months is light, healthy yet wholesome meals. It is the best time to begin a routine of healthy eating; summer gives all of us an excuse to increase our salad intake as it helps to keep the temperatures down. Plus they are easy to make and do not require me to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This routine works for lunch, however, dinner needs the inclusion of some sort of meat or seafood or even light pastas.
“I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food” – WC Fields
Each time I read this quote it makes me laugh uncontrollably. There could not have been a more apt saying than this for the summer months; drink a chilled glass of white wine while cooking and sometimes add it to the recipe too. Today was one of those days when I decided to incorporate it into my cooking instead. Spring cleaning of my freezer always ends up in a treasure hunt; this time the jewels were fillets of dory fish. To enhance the taste, all I did was marinate it in white wine and fresh tarragon and made a light sauce with the porcini mushrooms and remaining white wine. Simple, light and refreshing; those are the three words that best describe this recipe which is fast becoming my favorite these days. The trick to making a succulent fish is to marinate it for as long as you can; let it absorb all the delicious juices.
- 1kg fillets of dory (or any other white fish)
- 500 ml crisp white wine
- 1 cup fresh porcini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 onion
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup fresh tarragon
- Flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Sprinkle a bit of olive oil on the dory fillets and rub well with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Lay the fillets flat in a dish and sprinkle half of the chopped tarragon
- Pour 1/4 of the wine over the fish. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes (longer is advisable)
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan and saute the onions till soft and translucent. Make sure not to brown them.
- Once a sweet smell begins to emanate, add the porcini mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes
- Pour the remaining wine, tarragon leaves and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper and simmer on low heat for 8 – 10 minutes. Once the sauce has been reduced by 20% switch off the heat. Leave the sauce covered to avoid the flavors from escaping
- Heat a pat of butter in another pan and cook the dory fillets. Lightly pan-fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side till the meat starts to flake off
- As the fillets are about to be done, add the remaining marinade into the pan and cook with the fillets. This helps to enhance the flavors of the fish. This step should be done 2 minutes before taking the fillets off the heat
- Plate up the fish and pour over the white wine sauce generously
- Serve immediately
The wine and the earthy mushrooms help bring out the flavors of this simple fish dish. Personally, I prefer to cook fish in butter as opposed to oil, as it greatly enhances the taste. But then again, I am quite sure some might disagree. Aside from its flavors, the best part was the minimal time I had to spend in the kitchen. Marinate the fish much before time and leave the cooking to right before it needs to make an entry onto your palate. Dory fish can be substituted for any white fish of your choice for this recipe. Simple and straightforward with no usage of complex ingredients or techniques; but bursting with flavors for a balmy summer evening.