Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fritz's Green Sauce System

Fritz cooked for my parents when we were in Rhode Island. They loved this green sauce for fish and veggies. My mom requested the recipe. I think it tastes good too. But beyond that, it's great for cooking ahead and freezing for when you don't have time to cook. It's become Fritz's standard lunch at the office over the last year. He's lost 30 pounds since 2012 when he always used to eat out for lunch. I think we calculated the cost of each meal to be about $4; it's less expensive than eating out where Fritz was, and definitely healthier, but not terribly cheap.

Fritz's green sauce on the fish, salad is my preferred side.
1. Fritz likes to cook, but is not a chef.
2. Fritz likes to cook in quantity with the highest efficiency possible.
3. Fritz relies heavily on the looks right / tastes right / smells right technique. So while I copied it all down as faithfully as possible, there's some wiggle room in here.

Ingredients (enough for maybe many, many pounds of fish. You can freeze the extra):
Whole Black Peppercorns
Kosher salt
Handful of fresh peeled garlic cloves
Bunch of fresh parsley
Bunch of fresh cilantro
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about half a liter)

FRESH salmon or steelhead (we buy this at Costco)
FROZEN vegetables

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Put some peppercorns in a blender.

3. Put some salt in the blender.

4. Put some fresh, peeled garlic in the blender.

5. Wash the parsley, chop off the biggest stems, smash down into blender.

6. Wash the cilantro, chop off the biggest stems, smash down into blender.

7. Add olive oil. The olive oil came almost to the 3/4 liter mark on the blender, but that includes the volume of the other ingredients.

8. Blend. Sauce should be viscous enough to spread on fish. If too thick, add oil. Correct seasonings. Fritz added some more oil because he thought the sauce was too thick and he doubled the amount of salt (from step 3) after he had tasted.

9. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. If the fish has skin, lay it skin side down on the cookie sheet. Spoon sauce over fish. You'll have lots of sauce left over, which you can freeze, or add it to the vegetables. Bake fish for 10-14 minutes at 425. Thicker fish will take longer. Do not over-bake.

Ann: Wait. How do you know it's not over-baked?
Fritz: It's just a feeling I have.
Ann: I can't have a post with instructions like that.
Fritz: Hmmm. Well I guess it's a few things like:

  • The olive oil will slide off the fish and pool a bit at the edges. It should be thoroughly simmering, not just at the edges, but the entire oil pool should be simmering. It's almost like deep frying. The edges of the fish are turning just a tiny bit crusty.
  • Also, the smell of cooked fish. Just barely. Just now, as it's finished.
  • Finally, the fish will come off the skin easily when served. 
Fritz asks: will your mom be disappointed with how easy this is?

10. To make frozen meals to eat later, we freeze individual size pieces of fish in plasticware. (I wish we had a better alternative than using all this plastic stuff, but in the quantities we make, I have no better solution.) We add a dollop of green sauce as well. After the fish (and dollop of sauce) is frozen, we add already frozen vegetables.

11. I try to avoid warming up the plasticware in the microwave; instead, I dump my pre-made meal on a plate and heat it in the microwave. When we started this system, we used to freeze the green sauce in little ice cube trays and then mix with the vegetables once reheated. The little star (in below photo, left hand side) is actually frozen green sauce. Too fussy! Now we just use a dollop (as in the photo above).

Still frozen on the left, reheated on the right. 

Over the last year we've attempted this system with chicken, steak and even pork. Nothing tastes as good reheated as the fish. Also important: start with fresh fish, not frozen. Guten Appetit!


idena said...

YUM! Can't wait to try this.

Katie said...

Now I'm hungry! That looks so good and easy. I'm trying it. :)

Pregnantly Plump said...

It sounds almost like a pesto, right? We'll have to try it. Poor Bob is stuck eating deer chili and deer vegetable stew at work, because he's the only one of us willing to eat much deer meat. He would probably like this a lot more!

Grandma said...

Ann, you should be a food potographer - looks as good as it is! And yes, I knew it was easy; just couldn't remember all the ingredients and relative amounts. Thanks for the thorough show and tell.

Ann Wyse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Wyse said...

Ah, Pregnantly Plump: deer! Wow!

The green sauce is like a pesto is terms of color and and maybe even texture, but the taste is pretty different from traditional pesto.

All things equal, I think I like traditional pesto more than this green sauce, but the taste of traditional pesto would probably overwhelm the fish in a way that green sauce doesn't. ;-)