By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
Sometimes the options for dinner come down to just two, fish or chicken. And that’s the hurdle of the moment, isn’t it?
Seems like we’ve done both of them to the saturation point these past weeks. Fixed them every which way the family will go for. So what now?
Well, now we might want to try a couple of new or different things from our usual standbys I’ve run across lately.
Both are simple, easy, fairly quick-fixers and best yet, possibly, they bake in the oven with no last-minute finishes necessary.
Chef Heather Hunsaker, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts grad, at www.foodonthetable.com, has not forgotten nor lost her feel for everyday people, real families just like us, and gives us her how-for:
Southern oven-baked fish
2tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2pounds tilapia or catfish, rinsed and patted dry
1/2teaspoon each seasoned salt and pepper, more as needed
1 1/2tablespoons Creole seasoning (see note)
2eggs, lightly beaten
1tablespoon hot pepper sauce such as Crystal, plus extra for serving (see note)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with the oil and set aside.
Cut fish fillets into serving-size pieces; season with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal and seasoning. Combine the eggs and hot sauce in another bowl. Dip the fillets in the egg mixture, dredge in the cornmeal mixture and place in the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown, turning once during the baking. Place fish on a paper-towel lined plate and serve immediately with hot sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
Note to Forum cooks: If you have some homemade or bottled Emeril’s Essence on hand, use it for the Creole seasoning. If extra hot pepper sauce doesn’t do it for you, tartar sauce, lemon wedges or — in this particular recipe — salsa is a pretty good go-with, if you like that sort of thing. Hey, try it, you might love it!
1tablespoon seasoned salt
1teaspoon onion powder
1teaspoon garlic powder
1teaspoon herbs de Provence (see note)
1/3cup prepared mustard
1 1/2cups finely chopped dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
4boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a pie pan or shallow bowl, combine the flour and seasonings; mix well. In a second pie pan, stir together mustard and honey. Place chopped peanuts in a third pan. Dip each chicken breast in flour mixture, then honey-mustard mixture, and finally in the peanuts to coat. Place prepared chicken pieces in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through.
Makes 4 servings.
Note: If you have no herbs de Provence on hand or don’t care for the lavender usually found in this classic French seasoning mixture, substitute an herb you like better — thyme, tarragon, even basil might work well.
The next Forum will appear in Friday’s comics pages.