All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Tom cooks 9: Sakana to yasai no sotee gaarikku remon soosu (fish and vegetable saute with garlic lemon sauce)

All of a sudden, I got sick. My nose was stuffed up and a fever was cooking my head. I apparently looked and sounded truly ill, and Tom agreed to cook fish for dinner.

His first response was, “I will cook if you prepare everything.”

Huh? If I were to bring out all the ingredients and cut them up, I might as well cook them. Nope, it shouldn't be this way. Not long ago, Tom clearly said he would make a Japanese meal for me with at least three dishes. So he must still be motivated deep down, and it is just one dish, after all.

So I said, “that's not you cooking.” I quickly told him how to fix a fish dish: “You cut up the fish, salt and pepper it, chop vegetables and mushrooms, grate garlic, dust the fish with flour, pat off the excess, saute with olive oil, flip, put vegetables and mushrooms on top, cover, steam until done, serve on plates, melt butter in the same pan, saute garlic, add white wine, remove from heat when fragrant, add soy sauce, and pour over fish and veggies.”

It is a simple dish that requires only one frying pan for everything. What a deal! Moreover, there is no thin slicing or fine chopping involved. Simply adding ingredients and cooking them all is a perfect fit with Tom’s style. And butter and garlic at the end – that should sound good to him.

“Okay, I'll do it,” Tom said.
Yes! A victory for my menu choice!
I was so happy that my fever almost seemed to disappear.

The cooking went relatively smoothly.
He was supposed to pat off excess flour, but he actually pressed it into the surface of fish. After I realized that my words apparently conveyed no meaning, I demonstrated what to do, in vain.
Luckily, the fish was steamed at the end, so this was no big deal. But Tom, you want a very thin coating of flour on the surface of fish to make a light and crispy meuniere. Pressing flour into the surface tends to make the surface gooey when fish is sauteed.

The vegetable was gailan Chinese broccoli. Tom thought the stems needed to cook longer than the leaves, and he first put only the stems in the pan and placed the cover. That’s what I often do when sauteing vegetables with stems or firm sections. But gailan's stems cook fast and leaves hold their texture well after cooking – similar to kale but softer – and you can put both stems and leaves at the same time when steaming.

The finished dish looked like a vegetable and mushroom stir-fry, but it did have fish underneath.
Tai, the always optimistic Boykin Spaniel, happily followed the food to the table.
Chef Tom was pretty pleased with how it turned out.
As for me, still suffering from my cold, I was quite pleased that I can count on Tom for another dish.

Recipe for Tom: Sakana to yasai no sotee gaarikku remon soosu (fish and vegetable saute with garlic lemon sauce)

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