Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Haddock & New Potato Casserole with Pesto

On teaching nights, Bill comes through the door just as I am setting up the web cam and logging in for live sessions with the students. The simplest suppers for these nights involved me hollering toward the front hall as he arrives, "Nuke some hot dogs and a bag of veggies."

I'm ever on the hunt for suppers that I can prepare ahead of time so he can grab his helping while I'm explaining the bibliographic universe. My helping will be sitting somewhere ready to warm up when I come stumbling offline. Hardest has been figuring out ways to get fish (other than canned tuna and salmon) into teaching night rotation.

Last night's effort worked out pretty well. It was a firm, warm casserole wherein the haddock was mild and tasty. I do love a good Maritimes sea food chowder so I started with fish, potatoes, and evaporated milk.

Ingredients for two large servings:
  • 2 servings partially thawed haddock loins or other strong fish
  • 1 medium onion, a sweet Vidalia works well here
  • 2 small servings new potatoes
  • 1 can fat free evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup jarred pesto
  • salt and lemon pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Use a "big half" of the pesto to grease the inside of a shallow baking dish
  3. Add the bread crumbs to the greased dish and shake to coat the sides, spreading the excess bread crumbs to cover the bottom with a shallow layer of bread crumbs and pesto.
  4. Slice the partially thawed fish into 1/2 inch thick pieces and layer on top of the bread crumbs.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and lemon pepper.
  6. Cut in half and thinly slice the onion. Layer it on top of the fish.
  7. Thinly slice the new potatoes. Layer these on top of the onions.
  8. Gently pour in the evaporated milk.
  9. Using a brush or your fingers, coat the potato slices with the remaining pesto.
  10. Bake about 1 hour or until the potatoes are done.
The evaporated milk, with the help of the bread crumbs, turns in to a kind of custard. The fish is very mild. The onions are soft. And the potato slices are are a wonderful topping.

I told Bill what time to turn off the oven. He ate while I bellowed to my unseen online students. My serving was sitting in the still warm oven when I finished class ready to be vacuumed off the plate. Yummy.

Tonight is not a teaching night. I think it's a good time for hamburgers and other food that requires attention.

Haddock on Foodista

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Imprecise & Inexpensive

Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.