Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pan-Fried Threadfin with Pine Nut Brown Butter

When I started blogging (on my personal blog) way back in 2004, there was only person who read it--my best friend; she started blogging first and we were doing it to keep in touch. After a while a few others started reading my blog, too, first my parents, then some friends.

In time I realised that I wanted to blog mostly about home cooking. So I started Simply Cooked in 2009 and imported all my cooking-related posts from my personal blog. And now there are more readers than my best friend and my parents! (I'm up to 15000 pageveiws a month, actually, so thanks for reading!!) I feel blessed to be able to share ideas with you, thoughtful bloggers and readers.

I have often asked myself why I love blogging so much. I think I partly know the answer now. I am reading The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely, which says that humans love doing tasks that have an audience. I could easily write about healthy home cooking for myself, like a journal, but knowing that someone could be reading makes it so much more enjoyable. It turns out that people in general find tasks like writing and creating music or art to be more satisfying when they have an audience.

There are more than 100 million blogs out there (wow!), so allow me to express my amazement and gratitude that you are reading this one. I love the interaction we enjoy thanks to blogs, both this one and many others that I visit weekly.

On to this recipe, which marked a new experience for me. Thanks to this recipe I learned how to scale and gut a fish. It was a little scary at first but I watched these two videos and read this post about cooking whole fish in two Chinese styles. That helped a lot and made me see that it's not that scary or difficult.

I had intended to leave the heads on when making this recipe, but in the end decided I much preferred not having the eyes looking at me from the pan. I expect that this is something I will get over in future! Haha.

Pan Fried Threadfin with Pine Nut Brown Butter
serves 2
adapted from Donna Hay's New Food Fast

These fish are great served with mixed steamed vegetables or mashed potatoes. The recipe makes a large amount of buttery sauce which can be poured over.

2 small (palm-sized) threadfin, or another small, mild, white fish
1/3 c (100 g) butter
2 T fresh lemon juice
3 T pine nuts

If your fish are already descaled and gutted, skip to the next step.
Hold one fish by the tail and scrape the scales off the fish using the back side of a knife blade. Do this in a large bowl of water inside the sink for minimum mess.
Place the fish flat on a chopping board and use the flat palm of your non-dominant hand to hold it still. Use the point of a knife. Pierce the belly of the fish at the back by the tail fin and gently cut along the belly towards the front until the knife is under the front fin.
Make a cut behind the front fin from top to bottom of the head. Push down on the backbone with the point of the knife to break through it. Flip the fish over and make the same cut from top to bottom of the head. Pull the head away from the body of the fish and the the guts should also come away in one piece. Use your fingers to check that the cavity is empty.
Pause to clean up your work area!

Use a small frying pan that is just big enough for the two fish together.
Add the butter to the pan on medium heat and wait until it is melted and foamy.
Add the lemon juice and pine nuts and cook for 3 minutes for the pine nuts to brown and the butter to colour.

Add the fish and fry for 3 minutes on each side, turning gently.
Use the buttery sauce to pour over the fish when serving.

This dish is part of our Wednesdays with Donna Hay blogging group. If you want to join us, next week we are making pasta with pumpkin and sage brown butter. You are welcome to join us; no long term commitment is required. Visit the others in my blogging group to see if they liked the recipe.

Do you like creating things for an audience?

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