Last night, I had a Valentine’s Day dish in mind that I’ve prepared with some success in the past. I don’t have a name for it. Let’s call it Tim’s VD Special. Here’s the recipe for Tim’s VD Special: get one (1) large shelled prawn; wrap it with one (1) orange roughy fillet; top with tomato slice; skewer the whole shebang with toothpick; bake at 350 until done. A dash of lemon juice, crack some pepper on that dude. Bingo. Your lady (or man) is guaranteed to love Tim’s VD Special or your money back.
So to Whole Foods in Lakewood I go to acquire my ingredients. Know what the woman in charge of the seafood counter told me? They don’t sell orange roughy because it’s not sustainable. I’m okay with this policy. First, because you know before you walk into the store that that’s what you’re going to get at Whole Foods: hippy-dippy, love-the-planet, drive-Glenn-Hunter-nuts environmentalism. You can’t complain about seeing boobs if you walk into a topless joint. Right? Same thing with Whole Foods. And, listen. I parked my Prius in one of those spots that Whole Foods reserves for hybrid cars. You think you hate me? I hate myself. I’m fine with that. And, second, I’m okay with Whole Foods’ fish policy because I’m well aware that fish stocks across the globe are collapsing. We ought to do what we can (even though I doubt it’ll be enough).
Moving on. What I do have a problem with (and what Nancy and I have been discussing for the past 10 minutes) is what the seafood counter woman suggested as a substitute after I informed her of my intentions for the roughy. She said I should go with Dover sole. She said it would perform like orange roughy. It would wrap well around the prawn, and so on and so forth. First off, it was about $9 per pound, so it wasn’t real Dover sole. Sole? Yes. Dover sole? No. Which means it was farmed someplace, and let’s just hope it wasn’t down in Chile because then I’ll get the fantods thinking about all that jet fuel burned to get those fishies up to Texas. Plus, you know, FISH FARMS ARE EVIL, as we all know.
I didn’t get into all this with the seafood counter woman because I didn’t want to feel like I was in an episode of Portlandia. I just bought the sole and went on my merry way (to the beer aisle for some Stone IPA and Modus Hoperandi, if you must know).
You know what I learned in the kitchen? Fake Dover sole definitely does not perform like orange roughy. Sole fillets are way too thin. I felt like I was making spring rolls. The result was just shy of miserable. Where Tim’s VD Special is a big, juicy, white, meaty presentation with that shock of red on top, what I made last night was puny, yellow, nearly dry.
My inamorata was kind with her review. She said the dish was fine. We both knew better.
To make matters worse, I was so distracted by my failing fish that when I went to steam the broccolini, I forgot to put water in the pan and instead filled the kitchen with the stench of burning enamel from the Chantal pot.
Oh, well. At least I had the beer.