Sooo… I have a confession. I’m in a bit of a cooking rut.
It’s been a long time coming. After almost 5 months of cooking at home for Every. Single. Meal, being stressed to the max throughout the day combined with not going out to eat, not getting takeout or eating any type of prepared food…I’m getting a little tired. (Did I mention we don’t own a microwave??)
Maybe the more appropriate word is burned out. I find myself exhausted from the work day and preparing the most boring and benign of dinners that I throw together out of habit and comfort, and my taste buds need a smidge of a kick and a shakeup. Our running family joke has become “what will we have for dinner tonight???”. I realize that this probably isn’t actually funny because the majority of the world has resumed some sense of normalcy and established the ‘new normal’ with limited contact and safety in mind, but for us…we haven’t been able to. We are still on tight restriction and lockdown due to the pandemic and underlying health conditions, and quite frankly, things that shouldn’t be funny…ARE. I also realize that to those of you reading this that might be in our same “situation” for this crazy, nightmarish lockdown, probably don’t find this funny either. Heck. Ok. I guess it’s not funny at all to anyone but us. But this isn’t my point. I am rambling. It appears I am losing my mind and getting punchy on the regs. At least I am documenting it for your entertainment 😊
On this day, as I type, we are on our 146th day of lockdown…and…well…after 146 days of this daily question we want to punch each other in the face upon hearing this. (Lot of love going on in between these walls.) That is 146 days of planning, ordering, calling to complain to shipt on messed up orders, wiping down, prep and the beloved process of cleanup. Long gone are the weekly food and recipe schedules that I used to dreamily and happily prepare over a glass of yummy wine and map out for what will fill our bellies and the sense of order that we used to have.
We. Are. Over. It.
With all of that back story, I was feeling frisky in said rut, so turned to my trusty cookbook that I have had for over a decade to find something I had been sitting on but never gotten around to trying in order to give me back my juju. It had been a long time since I had gotten giddy and excited to make dinner, like a teenager on their first date (yes, this is actually a thing).
My favorite days to cook are Sunday. I’m going to start making ‘Sunday Suppers’ a thing in our household. I have been trying to not work on the weekends (unsuccessfully most of the time) but when I am able to unplug for some minutes at a time…and let my brain wander to where I would like to be, it always navigates towards good food and good company. I feel they should always go hand in hand, and while we are short on the company aspect, let’s rock the food part. Sundays seem to be the days I get that giddy feeling again to make a really superb meal for the people I love most.
I always tell Jordan-“I REALLY want something FABULOUS for dinner tonight”. What I am not saying is…I want something fabulous that we don’t have to cook or clean up or think about. (Huge shout out by the way to Jordan for always doing the dishes, and never complaining).
With that being said, this recipe has been in my cookbook since 2008. Yes. 2008. I ripped it out of a magazine because I liked the picture (go ahead, call me shallow), never read it, and stashed it in there to never be touched in 12 years. It is not surprising to me, that upon retrieving this recipe to present this week and prepare for my family last Sunday…is that it is an Ina recipe. Ina Garten is my all-time favorite, absolute go-to chef and recipe-maker extraordinaire of all time. It was like divine intervention. A random selection that couldn’t have been more perfect had I planned it. There is something about her cooking that I love immensely, that focuses on spending more quality time with your friends and family, and less time stressing about the food. Not to mention she is like that fabulous aunt you just want to have and hold and squeeze. I also have a sneaky feeling that Ina with her hair down, is a really good time.
I ripped this little baby out to wipe the dust off and try for the first time, and boy, was I ‘wowed’. I won’t lie, it is a little rich, but please don’t be tempted to sub any of the goodness for anything else. Leave everything as it should be. Ina’s fabulous recipes are pure magic. Anyone that has cooked with me knows that I can not leave a recipe alone. I have to change it. Tweak this, remove that, double this, sub that. Ina’s are perfect in every way, and so I have learned not to mess with the master. One of her recipes was exactly what I needed to yank me out of my rut.
This recipe was all of my favorite things. Easy, quick, packed FULL of flavor…and not too bad on the calorie count. The richness of the sauce was balanced out by the flakiness and beautiful mild flavor of the fish, and the only word that comes to mind is…divine. Serve with haricot vert as Ina mentions, or some steamed asparagus or a fresh green salad. For a heartier side, her beautiful roasted potatoes would be amazing.
I hope you loved this as much as we did. Let’s just say, this recipe will be in my book for another more 12+ years to come.
Ina’s Mustard Roasted Fish
Prep Time: 3 Minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 Minutes
Overall Time: 15 Minutes or Less
Serves: 4 (I cooked 2 fillets of fish and just used all of the sauce for those two fillets, it was nice to have extra)
- 1 Bottle of your favorite white wine, iced down. If you are going for red, be sure it is chilled. I recommend Rombauer Chardonnay or Hubert Brochard Sancerre that you can get at Market. If you want something lighter and more crisp like Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, Alexana's Pinot Gris (also at Market)
- 1 Wine Glass, 2 if you are feeling generous
- 4 x 8oz fish fillets such as red snapper (I used Hog Snapper)
- 8 ounces of crème fraîche
- 3 Tbsp of Dijon Mustard
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 2 Tbsp minced shallots
- 2 tsp drained capers
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Take a bottle of your favorite wine, red or white, and make sure it is chilled. Pop that cork and get to pourin’. Take a sip and enjoy. Let your kinks out.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Combine the crème fraîche, two mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it’s barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it’s done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top.
WINE PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
HUBERT BROCHARD SANCERRE 2019 FRANCE
Sancerre, Loire, France- Sancerre, Loire - This Sauvignon Blanc is full of zesty grapefruit flavors that mingle with crisp pear and mineral. Floral and elegant, dry & fruity- grown on 3 soils of clay, limestone and flint. All of the flavors are wonderfully balanced by ample acidity making this perfect for most seafood and chicken dishes.
(Sayre's other Breakfast Wine)
ROMBAUER CHARDONNAY 2018 - CARNEROS, CA
Enticing aromas of vanilla, peach and mango are layered with apricots, creme brulee, butter and a slight minerality. Those scents are echoed as flavors on the creamy, rich palate, along with peach, pie crust and baking spices. The long, smooth finish is marked by mouthwatering acidity.
(SAYRE'S FAVE PICK/Breakfast Wine)
Le Bruciate Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2013
Producer: Canneta Le Bruciate
Region: Brunello di Montalcino, Italy
Tasting Notes: This offers aromas of plum, tangerine peel and a hint of hay. The palate offers prune, vanilla and star anise alongside firm tannins that lead to a strong finish. This is Sayre's favorite wine!
(Sayre's New Fave Champagne!!!! We also have splits)
LAURENT-PERRIER LA CUVET BRUT
Varietal: Chardonnay (over 50%), Pinot Noir (over 30%), and rounded out with Meunier
Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour. Fine bubbles feed a persistent mousse. A delicate nose with hints of fresh citrus and white flowers. The wine’s complexity is expressed in successive notes like vine peach and white fruits notes. A perfect balance between freshness and delicacy with fruity flavours very present on the finish. Description provided by Laurent-Perrier
Food Pairings: This fresh and pure wine is perfect for an apéritif. Its citrus and white fruits notes and its remarkable balance supported by a subtle effervescence, make it an ideal accompaniment to poultry and the finest fish.