Sunday Supper was so good and quick and easy, I just had to share it.
Sunday supper is a time when cooking and eating is an imposition, especially the cooking part. Whether we’ve been watching football, on a day trip, coming home from a Giants game, cooking a soup or stew for later in the week or just vegging out and trying to get through the entire Sunday New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle, it’s a time for ordering in Pizza or Chinese. But we can’t do that every Sunday. (We can’t?)
We’ve gone through a few phases:
The ordering in phase,
The leftover phase,
The peel and eat shrimp phase, that was the latest, and frankly, I’m tired of shrimp — or easy substitutes such as squid or scallops.
It’s January and the market is full of roots: beets, carrots, potatoes, and celery root, parsnips, turnips and the like. I scored a few pounds of beets and a couple of fine celery roots. The beets went to Harvard Beets and Pickled Beets and a couple of pounds are left for Borscht. That’s a lot of beets, our pee will flow red for days and days.
Celery root is good. It’s sweet and crunchy — kind of like a cross between celery and a turnip — and we think of the classic Celery Root Remoulade, a slaw-like salad with a mustard-mayonnaise dressing, or a salad with apples and lemon juice. I don’t remember ever cooking celery root.
I went to old standby Marquita Farm website on a recipe hunt and found Potato-Celery Root Cakes, a dish that they got from Deborah Madison. When I read the recipe — grated potatoes and celery root, salt and pepper, cook in oil in a skillet as a cake — I thought they left something out, but I could surely give it a try.
I also got a couple of boned trout at the market. Mark Bittman of the New York Times food section used to have a TV show on Saturday Mornings, maybe he still does. It would be on when I got home from the market. One Saturday, he poached mackerel in an Asianesque poaching liquid. As I watched, I made some notes, and I’ve used it several times since.
So that’s Sunday Supper, almost no prep time:
Stuff the trout with lemon slices and dill; I had saved poaching liquid from a couple weeks ago in a jar in the fridge.
Peel the celery root and potatoes and shred them in the Cuisinart.
The cooking time is short, as well:
Potato-celery root cakes take about 20 minutes to cook and the fish takes 10 minutes to poach in the meantime. While that was going on, I made a salad of Lil Gems and radicchio, thinly sliced and tossed with ranch dressing. Done.
I gotta say, that was an excellent Sunday Supper. The Potato-Celery Root Cakes are crisp on the outside and creamy within; the trout, firm and tasty with a hint of soy sauce, ginger and lemon. The crunchy salad is a counterpoint. Yum!
Here are the recipes with my cooking notes:
Potato-Celery Root Cakes
from Deborah Madison via Mariquita 1.08
1 pound potatoes, peeled
1 pound celery root, peeled
3-4 Tablespoons oil [and butter]
Salt & Pepper
Grate the potatoes and celeriac [in Cuisinart], mix together. In a heavy skillet heat half the oil [and butter] over med. heat. Add half the potatoes-celery root mixture, making a layer about 1/2 inch thick. Season, then cover with the other half of the mixture. Press down on the cake and neaten the edges. Reduce heat to low and cook until the bottom is golden, about 10-15 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a plate, add the remaining oil, slide the cake back into the pan and cook the other side until golden.
Cooked 1.08 — This is so easy and good and creamy, I was amazed. I erred by putting a bunch of Crystal hot sauce in the first seasoning. Carol freaked out. Oh well, I get to eat the rest myself.
Bittman Poaching liquid
5.07 on the TV
Cooked with Sand Dabs, trout, salmon and maybe some other stuff. HINT: put cheesecloth under the fish to ease lifting out.
He poached Mackerel fillets. I guess you could use it for other small fish, as well, such as trout.
He used a big stainless steel bowl, why not?
Wild guess quantities
3 cups water
1/2 inch sliced ginger, he didn’t peel it, you don’t eat it.
2 cloves sliced garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
Bring to a boil for a few minutes, poach your fish innit.