Scattered

Did it ever strike you as odd that in The Dave Matthews Band song “So Much to Say,” he repeats the refrain over and over, when he could be expounding on whatever it is he so badly needs to get out? Of course, that’s the point of the song, I guess. He just can’t get it out. But still, there’s a lesson to be learned.

I’m feeling scattered, with so much to say, and reports of eating experiences bouncing around willy-nilly in my head. Here are some topics I want to touch on in more detail at some point:

– There’s a great response to the documentary Super Size Me in this week’s Seattle Weekly called Organicize Me. If nothing else (and there was a lot else), it reminded me of the term “foodgasm,” which should be used more regularly.

– Recent blog postings regarding how kids should be fed have been interesting to read. See Chow.com’s entry from last week.

– A non-food note to high school students: if applying to an institution of higher education across the country, and are interested in an alumni interview, please decide whether you’re actually applying to said college BEFORE you apply, then stick with your decision. A Middlebury College applicant recently turned down my offer to interview her (the college had called me regarding her application, which she’d already turned in), saying she’d decided against going there. Then she called me back the other day, three full weeks later (and after the interview deadline, I might add), saying she’d changed her mind and would I please interview her right then. Not the way it works, honey. I said no and referred her to the admissions office.

– A new cooking technique to share. We had some day-old pastries to reheat the other day, and when I stumbled into the kitchen for my coffee, my husband was heating them like this:

(Sorry, not a great shot.)

Reheating Pastries

Hey, whatever works.

Okay, now that I’ve shaken those thoughts out of my brain, I can share what I made for dinner last night with the in-laws (my mother-in-law took recipe notes for me) and our friend Jeff. I completely overcooked the halibut (too scattered to remember to think about it before putting it in the oven), but no one seemed to mind too much. Remember that so-called Canadian Rule of fish: 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

Roasted Halibut with Walnut-Panko Crust

Recipe for Roasted Halibut with Walnut-Panko Crust
Recipe 56 of 365

This recipe serves six, but to cook for fewer people, you could buy half the fish and reserve half the walnut-panko topping for another use (you could pat it onto anything you want to roast, really – try a different fish, or a rack of lamb, or chicken breasts). It freezes well, cooled and stored in small Ziploc bags.

Panko are flat Japanese breadcrumbs; you can usually find them in the Asian section of most decent-sized grocery stores.

TIME: about 30 minutes
MAKES: 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (the walnut baking pieces from Trader Joe’s work fine)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 pounds flat-cut halibut (not steaks), cut into six pieces

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, then the onion and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Add the walnuts, and cook 1 minute. Increase the heat to high, add the wine, and simmer for about a minute, or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat, add the mustard and the panko, and stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Season the halibut filets with salt and pepper, and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Pat about a sixth of the topping onto each of the fish pieces in an even layer. Roast the fish for 10 to 15 minutes (or even less, if you have thin filets like I did), depending on the thickness of your fish, or until the topping is brown and the fish is cooked through. Serve hot.

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