My Inner Julia Child

I’d recently posted about some serious health issues I have been dealing with for the last several months. As the acute illness is fading, tests are finally turning up results and it’s looking like I have chronic Lyme’s Disease. Chronically it’s a difficult thing to diagnose as it is, even more so here in the Middle East where it literally doesn’t exist! It was suspected when I first got sick but until recently, none of the dr’s really knew or had access to effective testing. Finally, I was connected with an infectious disease specialist. It has been hit and miss but with some combination of medications I feel like I am finally on the road to being well again. I will feel far more secure and certain when we return home and can consult with specialists. 

Meanwhile, I have decided to  introduce eggs and some fish back into my diet. My husband was really excited when I told him and he promptly and not so subtly reminded me that we own Mastering The Art Of French Cooking by Julia Child and that it includes wonderful fish recipes! 

After looking through this culinary treasure over breakfast, I hit the market in search for a tasty, preferably local and sustainably sourced white fish. 

Americans really do not embrace fish as a dietary staple, not in the way Europeans do. When Americans eat fish it’s typically a salmon or trout that is grilled or smoked, it’s usually over cooked, dry and rarely genuinely fresh. Aside from random “sell by” labels at American grocery stores, you have no idea if it’s fresh because they don’t sell their fish whole. They’re sold already cleaned, cut and ready to cook. This is a shame and all too often a sham when you want, real, fresh and sustainable quality. 

With the plan of adding fish into my diet and having obvious moral and health expectations to make this happen, I needed to do a little reading. 

Side note – if you are interested in eating real food and have a desire to support a real and sustainable industry, you should read the book Real Food Fake Food by Larry Olmstead. It’s enlightening, fascinating and very eye opening! Rick and I read it together last year. The seafood industry is horrific in practice and selling you fish that isn’t at all what they say it is. For example, DNA tests were run and sushi tuna is over 90% of the time not even tuna. It’s some shitty fish farmed in China. Seriously. It’s disgusting and shocking. Ignorance is not bliss!

So, Julia tells us several key points to purchasing fresh fish:

  • Their gills are still pink 
  • Eyes are clear, not cloudy 
  • They smell like fresh saltwater, not “fishy”
  • Their skin has slick almost slimy film. 

Even when I used to eat fish, it was typically fried or grilled. I’m pretty sure it was never very fresh and it certainly wasn’t me cooking it! So, I was pretty excited today to try Julia’s recipe for poached fish fillets in a white wine sauce. Poached Fish! Wow, it was really, really easy and brilliant. I ended up using Nile Perch fillets.  I would have preferred the gulf white fish called Hammour, but the market on Friday was so insanely packed I would have ended up waiting hours to get a whole Hammour skinned and filleted…there is always next time and not on a Friday! 

Okay so here are some pics from today’s lunch. I will say that Julia tells us a good poached fish is typically a course that is best served on it’s own. She says if you have salad, to serve it afterwards with the following courses. Well, I’d imagine that lady Julia never served less than 3 or 4 courses. Hahahaha, maybe I’ll have a dinner party someday, wear pearls and serve poached fish as a single dish…but it’s not today. 

With my first ever and very successful poached fish, I served some Brussels sprouts seared with garlic, lemon and a bit of balsamic reduction as well as some boiled new potatoes with a bit of butter, green onion and a sprinkle of fresh grated Parmesano Reggiano. Bon Appetite! 

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