Food & Wine

Pan Cooked Vegetables with Crunchy Fish

The Tri-City Herald Food & Wine section Oct. 27 will feature Menu Planner, a weekly feature giving seven days of dinner menus, shopping hints and tips on using leftovers from one meal in a new way later in the week. The section also includes more recipes plus buying, cooking and health tips on a variety of food-related subjects.

Pan Cooked Vegetables with Crunchy Fish

"Grated potatoes, winter squash and root vegetables cook in 10 minutes, so even if you don't have a food processor and must grate by hand you still save time. Here the vegetables are heavily spiced with ginger (and/or garlic) and curry powder and topped with crunchy fish," Mark Bittman writes.


4 tablespoons vegetable oil, or more as needed

1 small red onion or 4 scallions, chopped

About 2 pounds of winter squash, sweet potatoes, daikon radishes, turnips, carrots, parsnips or celery root, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon minced ginger and/or garlic

1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste

Salt and black pepper

1/4 cup cornmeal (fine or medium grind)

1/4 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour

About 12 ounces sturdy white fish fillets, cut into 4 pieces (see note)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Lemon, lime or orange wedges for serving


Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add half the onion and the vegetables. Add the ginger and/or garlic and the curry powder and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and adding a little more oil if the mixture is sticking, until the onion has caramelized and the vegetables are lightly browned, about 10 minutes; the vegetables need not be fully tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a large serving platter (or divide among individual plates).

While the vegetables are cooking, combine the cornmeal and flour on a plate along with some salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal mixture, pressing to make some of it stick, then shake to remove the excess.

Return the skillet to high heat; don't bother to wipe it out. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. When it's hot, add the fish to the pan and cook, turning only once, until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through -- a thin bladed knife will meet little or no resistance when the fish is done.

Put the fish on top of the vegetables; garnish with remaining onion and the herb. Serve with citrus slices if you like.

Note: Bittman recommends buying local and sustainable fish if you can find it.

Yield: 4 servings

From: "The Food Matters Cookbook," by Mark Bittman