A Feast for One

Posted on March 7, 2010


The Dutch are serious about fish, wanting it fresh and as close to whole as possible. In America we are so used to all of our food being sliced, diced, and pre-packaged, it is sometimes easy to forget where that food comes from. It is also easy to forget the impossibly large amount of work that goes into delivering food to the plate.

While walking throught the Saturday outdoor market (see separate post), I decided to do as the Dutch do, and push my comfort boundaries a bit. Before I put much thought into it, I stepped up to a fish seller and purchased a large tilapia. He cleaned the fish a bit, descaled it, and wrapped it neatly into white paper. Cost for the fish = 3.30 euro. I found a lemon and took my prize home.

Cooking a whole fish is surprisingly easy. Deciding when it is done is surprisingly difficult. To prepare, you start by rinsing the fish inside and out, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, again inside and out. Then, for some seasoning, smear some melted better, chopped garlic, lemon, and parsley inside the fish. The directions called for wrapping in foil, but I didn’t have any here so two bowls nested over each other had to do.

I cooked the fish for about 50 minutes, longer than expected but it seemed about right. I am clearly not good at filleting, as I got surprisingly little meat for such a large fish. There was no way two people would have been satisfied. Paired with a fresh red pepper, some whole grain bread, and brussel sprouts, I had quite a feast though. In all honesty it was not worth all the work and cost, I would have been happier with my traditional cookery at half the price and lots of leftovers. An interesting experiment though.
Posted in: Rotterdam