Who cares? Tonight I decided to screw healthy and embrace HEAVENLY!!!! (In my mind, I hear boychoirs singing; timpani pulsating; swells of orchestral drama.) A buttery, sharpcreamy, unctuous pork-bit-laden white sauce enrobes tender-but-toothsome pan-seared poor-man’s-lobsterfish and is accompanied by crunchy caramelized broccoli bites — resulting in a super-sin-fulfilling supper, one my hard-working and intensely studying (for his nursing degree) husband richly deserves, especially between a long day on the clock and a long night of hitting the books. Warm, rich, and delicious: what else does one need as a digestif to prepare the body for future rounds of intellectual consumption?
Monkfish, Roasted Broccoli, Vidalia Onion Wedges, Bleu Cheese Bacon Cream Sauce
3-4 slices bacon
1/4lb nice, sticky, quality bleu cheese
1 Vidalia onion
EVOO, sea salt, cracked black pepper, spices, flour
1 cup vegetable/canola oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tbs butter
1 cup heavy cream
I start with the broccoli, because it takes a while to roast — like 30 minutes at least on 350° F. I cut it into florets, spread it on a baking sheet, generously douse it with EVOO, sprinkle it with sea salt and cracked black pepper, and finally…
… I very loosely scatter about a teaspoon of granulated white sugar over the broccoli crowns. Why? Because it makes magic! A touch of sugar + salt + oil + heat = crunchy but tender, toasted-tipped, uber-broccoli-flavored broccoli. Just trust me — try it — and you will believe. I shove the baking sheet into the oven and roast everything for the next 30-40 minutes.
Vidalia onions are super-sweet. You can eat them like apples – really! (Although you may not want to hook up with anyone right afterwards without a visit from Uncle Listerine.) I saw them at the market, bought one, and had sliced it up for frying before I even really knew what I was doing.
I added about a cup of vegetable oil to the bacon grease I’d reserved in the pan, heated it it sizzling over medium high heat, and then shook my onions free of flour before chucking them into the fat. Because they are fairly thick (I cut wedges about 1/2″ thick), they contain a lot of water, so they take some time to fry — about 10 minutes, with me constantly turning them to cook them evenly.
I get my butter and a glug of EVOO hot in the same pan from whence I fried my onions, only I’ve wiped it out first. I think monkfish looks like something HR Giger would dream up – but he would probably include in his twisted vision their deliciousness. It is truly one of the sea’s ugly suckling ducklings. (Read: it tastes good, but looks beastly – alive or filleted.) But regardless of their off-putting appearance, I saute them in the hot fat, spooning the butteroil over the exposed surfaces while the undersides deeply pan-sear. I flip them each time the underedge crisps to golden (so about 4-6 times, every 2-3 minutes).
If you are on a diet, don’t eat this. But if you need to pamper yourself with rich sumptuousness, go for it. I did. Tender, buttery fish, creamy bleu cheese sauce, crunchy broccoli and sweet fried onions – a symphony of tastes and textures. We ate. Lustily. And Clayton is currently – after indulging in this soul-strengthening heartfilling repast – conquering micro-bio with determination, vigor, and intelligence. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll make a salad. Today: WE DINED. You should, too.