Monday, June 20, 2011

The best things in life are free

I love fish! And that makes me a true daughter of my father. My dad loves fish even more than I do and needs to eat it at least once a week, preferably every other day ;o) When he was a kid he had a deal with my grandma that she would make it for dinner as long as he did all the cleaning.
We ate a lot of fish at home and I never had to do anything with it. 

Then I got married and came to America. Our good friends upon a discovery that I love fish presented us with two lovely trouts. I cleaned them, seasoned and baked in aluminum foil with bones (that's how we frequently eat them at home). My poor husband had a horrible time eating that fish. The only fish he was familiar with were fish sticks. So next time I was planning fish for dinner I decided to learn how to fillet them. It looked very complicated at first but in reality (and after few tries) it's not that hard at all.  

Recently our neighbors gave us 5 smaller trouts FOR FREE! Yes, our neighbors are pretty generous and awesome.
Just looks at them. Aren't they beautiful?

I removed their heads and fins and fillet them. I always leave the skin on after I scrub it with knife to remove all the scales (the scrubbing part goes before filleting, info for the beginners)

Heads, spines and fins are great for flavoring a broth as a base for a fish soup. I told you I'm thrifty. Greatpoland forever! (Sorry, couldn't help myself.) 

Ok, so soup pack goes into the freezer and now we must deal with the fillets.
Slice 2 medium yellow onions. I highly recommend using/buying for this purpose a mandolin. No, I don't mean a musical instrument.

Onion gives a great flavor to a fish. 
Create a nice bed of onions on a plate.

Next, grab Vegeta. 
Ok, Vegeta is a seasoned salt from Croatia and is very popular in Poland. You can find it at most European/Russian stores. 
But if you don't have it you can use a regular salt, a little pepper and a little paprika. The fish will taste different but it will be good too.

Season fish with Vegeta on both sides and place on top of onions.
Vegeta has chunks of dried vegetables in it. I use to apply it though a strainer to get rid of those chunks. This was probably the first time that I used it as is and... it was ok.

Cover fish with another layer of onions and if you have more fish continue in the same matter. Fish-onion-fish -onion etc. Finish with the layer of onions. The idea here is to marinate fish with seasoned salt and juices from onions. 
Cover the plate with the plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least an hour. The longer it marinates the better. It can even stay like that overnight or probably up to 2 - 3 days. But I don't have an experience in that matter. Can't wait that long...

When it's time to fry the fish remove the plate from the fridge and uncover. 

Take a pan and melt 2 Tbsp of butter on it.

Next dump all the onions into the pan and cook stirring often. It will take a while for onions to get soft and yummy that's why we start with them.

Here you have beautiful, marinated fillets. See how vegetable chunks got a lot bigger (and softer) after being exposed to moisture?

Now it's time to prepare your frying station.
Plate with fish, plate with flour for dusting and...

...a frying pan

Start with heating up a few tablespoons of oil. The oil should be really hot.
Next, dust the fillets.

And when the oil is hot enough put them in the pan.

I always start frying them skin side down. Why? Because that's how my dad would fry fish.
 After 2 minutes check them. If they are golden brown they are ready to be flipped over. Fish cooks very fast. Especially small fish like that.
2 more minutes on the other side and they should be ready.

Onions are ready too.

Dinner time!

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