It is a simple recipe. One we have made in our family for over forty years. It has changed and we have adapted the way you do. Tonight I have company coming and the weather will be poor. We are expecting thunder and lightning. It will be a good night to fry fish.
My brother in law Dick first began making this with cod. He would take a cup of flour, and add a big tablespoon of curry powder. Then he would dredge the cod in it. It is called Cod Curry Almandine.
Then he would heat oil in the pan. When you fry fish you want the oil good and hot before you put it in. I like to hold my hand above the pan til I can feel the heat. I taught my neighbour this last summer when I showed him how to fry halibut. It is a trick that works well.
Next he put the fish in the pan about five minutes on each side if your fish is good and thick, til it is golden brown. I use a medium heat and I like vegetable oil for this as it stands a good heat. Dick always uses butter I think. I use haddock now and it works just swell. Cod is harder to find in Nova Scotia.
When the fish is done, lay it on a platter. Put two tablespoons of butter in the pan you fried the fish in and then brown some sliced almonds in it. Spread these over the fish. You can serve with salad, potatoes or rice, and a vegetable.
Tonight I have broccolini, fresh greens, and some new carrots. Lily, my old friend and company is bringing a rhubarb pie. We will have a visit, a bit of wine and a good meal. I look forward to this. It is my kind of night.
I have taken the fish out of the freezer. I buy it from a man who drives up here from Digby, which is six hours away and sells fish out of the back of his truck from the Irving. It is fresh and good. He calls me on the days he is coming and if I cannot make it my friend will sometimes pick it up for me. I don't like to miss the fish truck.
When I was a child we bought our fish directly off the boat. Now I get it from the fish truck, not quite the same, but closer to the boat than buying it at the grocery store. Things evolve and I adapt. Haddock, I have learned, can be just as tasty as cod. I appreciate that I can get it freshly caught even if I am going to freeze it myself.
Last week I was having lunch in Wallace and watching the boats come in and I remembered how I used to watch them as a child coming by the beach on the way to the wharf in Jersyside. My father always knew whose boat it was. We would see Leonard Wakehams' boat go by and sometimes we would go to Placentia breakwater where he docked and get a cod fish. Now I wait for the fish man to call me, but still life is good albeit different. I have to say, I love that it is filleted and ready to fry. I have gutted enough fish to know the luxury of a good fillet.
So I guess this is just another fish story. And tonight is just another fish dinner. But for me, it is a special thing to cook for a guest, an old and well loved friend. To light a candle, put a record on, sit by the water for a bit, and set another place at the table. Simple is best, don't you think?
- Deanne Fitzpatrick