We’ve decided it’s time to add more fish to our diet, and reduce our red meat consumption - except for lamb, of course.
We love fish, which is a good thing, but neither of us ate a lot of it growing up (unless you count ordering it in a restaurant), because fish is not a big ticket item in the Armenian diet. Modern-day Armenia is land-locked, so any fish that’s served there comes from a lake or a river.
When my mother was a child in New Jersey in the 1930s, her father would buy fish on Saturday morning when the fish price was reduced to 25 cents for 3 pounds. Can you believe that? Geez, we just bought 1 ¾ pounds of halibut for $25!
The only fish my grandmother would make was whiting, a fairly small, mild fish. Her technique was simple. She would dilute some of her homemade red pepper paste, dip the cleaned fish in it, dredge the fish in flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper, then pan fry. We’d squeeze a little lemon on it - superb! The only drawback to the whiting was those pesky little bones.
Since frying isn’t a heart-healthy way to cook, Doug and I have been experimenting with more suitable techniques - poaching, pan-searing, baking, broiling and grilling.
If you want to try an Armenian fish recipe that’s truly delicious - and nutritious -- try this:
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
2 carrots, sliced in thin circles
1 medium potato, cut into small cubes
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove crush garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/4 cup water
Sauté the carrots, potato, celery, onion and garlic in oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup water, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender. Set aside.
1 1/2 lbs. firm white fish (halibut, cod, mahi mahi or haddock), cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped parsley
Fresh lemon wedges
Rinse fish & pat dry. Be sure to remove any bones.
Toss the fish chunks with a little olive oil; add salt and pepper to taste.
Place the fish in a casserole dish lightly coated with vegetable spray.
Combine the tomato paste with the diced tomatoes, and pour over the fish.
Gently mix in the cooked vegetables.
Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350°F. oven for about 15 minutes.
Serve hot or cold with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.