Cooking in the time of Covid-19: Fish Friday. (or any day) Easter is upon us now.

Easter weekend will be here soon. My mom, who lives with my sister and her family, is very into her religion and her church going, was so happy to witness several Palm Sunday services yesterday. I think she might have done a marathon or a binge watch. It is not the same as being there but she was happy to watch what we affectionately are calling “Church-flix” of “Mass-flix”. I feel sad that she can’t be with her church buddies but she understands how serious this virus is and that we are doing all we can to keep her from getting it. She never complains, she texts and calls us and we are doing video calls now so she can see us and her grandsons talk to her often. Still, this is as hard for her as it is for the younger members of our family. I hope she doesn’t feel trapped and like all of us, is looking forward to the first time we can do a really BIG cook and have all of us together again. In keeping with our tradition of fish on Fridays, especially at Easter, the recipe I am going to share is a far cry from salt salmon and dumplings with okra that my mom would make for us to eat on Good Friday. But, every memory I have of her preparing that dish for us was with me as I maneuvered about the kitchen alone. While I like cooking with my family, I like cooking by myself too because that is the time I remember – remember every relative, every gathering, every time I learned something new in the kitchen. The women in my family naturally flock to the kitchen, not because it is our place but because it is OUR place. We aren’t expected to be there. We belong there because because the women in our family own our kitchens. There is a great deal of pride and love that gives rise to each dish we create. Cooking brought us together in the happy times, the sad times and any time. Watching the women in my family cook when I was little to cooking with them when I got older, showed me how much strength and power I am made of. As I cut, season, flour and stir, I am provided with the strength and comfort I need to get through this time of isolation with my family. Cooking and remembering the people who made me, gives me the inner peace I have  that allows me to be ready for anything that might come our way during this time of Covid-19 and in a time like this, I hope sharing my cooking ideas with you will provide you with something different to do, something to distract you or something to provide you with the comfort you might be seeking. Let’s get to the cooking.

So, for this dish, I decided to use the Basa that was in our freezer. I took out 3 large fillets and cut them into 4 pieces each to serve four of us. That left me with another 3 pieces I could use for another dish I have in mind for Good Friday  I seasoned it with salt, black pepper, lemon zest, thyme, basil, ginger red pepper flakes and for some reason, I grabbed the oregano. Dunno why.

After I seasoned it, I added some gluten free breadcrumbs and a little of Tom’s double zero flour that he uses for his pizzas. I was looking for something that would give the fish the light crisp I was looking for. I don’t like thick batters that hold onto the frying oil. i like my fish to taste lemony and light with just a little crunch. I am not a fan of thick batters because as I like to say, fish don’t wear coats. I don’t want the bite of fish to be 90% thick breading….I want it to be 98% fish and 2% coating.

Use enough oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan. My oil of choice – sunflower oil. Place pieces of fish in the pan with ample space between pieces to allow turning. Cook for 8 minutes, turning every two minutes. Fish should turn golden brown on both sides when done.

   Place fish on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Pat top side with a paper towel as well. Squeeze lemon juice evenly over fish pieces and place in the oven (on warm setting) to stay warm and crispy. I found a jar of cous cous in the kitchen cupboard and Adam who likes beans with everything, asked that I include lentils in the meal, so…I did. Measure out 1 cup of cous cous and 1 1/2 cups of water or broth. I used water and added all purpose seasoning, garlic powder and a little onion powder.  

        In a medium saucepan, bring the water or broth to a boil and with a little butter or margarine (say a teaspoon). I chose avocado margarine today. While you wait on the water to boil, drain and rinse a can of lentils. Once the water comes to a boil, add in the cous cous and fold in the lentils. Cous cous cooks quickly so make sure to reduce the heat after adding the cous cous to the boiling water. Once the water is absorbed, remove the saucepan from the heat and fluff with a fork. If you would like add a little Trinidad hot sauce or whatever hot sauce you prefer.Today I used a bit of Trinidad pepper sauce made by my cousin’s wife’s father.

   This meal was very tasty and filling and didn’t take very long to make. It was a hearty fish dinner enjoyed by all.Happy Fish Friday, Happy Easter, Happy Cooking and eating. Please stay inside and stay healthy~ Daniella and family.



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