Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Conquering Food Fears



Yesterday for dinner, my family had one of our favorites: Salmon and Salad.  It is also one of our most simple and quick meals!  5 ingredients, to be exact: salmon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and romaine.  Add a little bit of homemade ranch, and it's quick, wholesome, packed with nutrition, and delicious.

Can you believe just 3 years ago, I had never cooked fish before, and I was completely scared to do so?  I don't think I'm the only one who has been in this predicament.  Fish seems to be one of those "scary" foods that people think are really hard to "get right."  We've probably had a bad fish experience (visions of Long John Silver flash through my mind), or we didn't like it as a child, or we're just not sure what to do with it.  I had eaten fish prepared by others, and loved it, but cook it myself?  Scary!

After reading Nourishing Traditions, learning about traditional diets, and hearing all about the ever-important omega-3's, however, I decided I'd better add fish to my home-cooking repertoire.  Being thousands of miles from any ocean presents a slight problem, and our local fish (mostly trout) are not widely commercially fished or available to purchase... did I really want to personally go fly fishing before each meal?  After some deliberation, I decided if I was going to occasionally buy non-local fish, it may as well be salmon (delicious, fatty, and easy to find).  I settled on an inexpensive frozen wild-caught salmon at my local grocery store.  One wild-caught salmon is the same as the next, right?  There is no such thing as "organic" wild-caught fish, and frozen fish is said to be fresher than "fresh" fish found in a supermarket.

Now, how to cook it?  There are so many recipes, methods, and variations out there that picking one can be intimidating.  And what if I don't like dill?  Does every salmon recipe have to include dill?  Do I really have to marinate it for hours ahead of cooking?

Well, I'm a simple girl, with simple tastes, and my favorite fish-eating memory actually includes a campfire, a fresh-caught trout, and no utensils.  So simple it is.  Turns out, salmon has such fantastic flavor that it's amazing with only a little bit of seasoning: I like salt, pepper, and a little garlic.  It also has enough fat in it that it doesn't really need to be "marinated in olive oil," as one recipe recommended.  I just season it, pan fry it for a few minutes and call it good.

Delicious!  This is one food fear that is officially conquered!  Now, on to the beef liver...

Do you have any food fears?  I'd love to hear what new foods you've tried lately, what you've thought about them, and what you're hoping to try next!

Posted at Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen KopWorks for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family, and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet
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11 comments:

  1. I'm scared of cooking fish. I don't even know if I like it though. :)

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  2. It is a little scary at first. :) Some kinds are really mild and not very fishy... almost like chicken.

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  3. I've been trying to come up with some 'meatless' meals for us. But My husband requires a MEAT at every meal, so thats a challenge. Not a huge fan of soy products or meat replacements (garden or bean burgers? Bleh.) But the other day at the grocery store a package of portabellas caught my eye. I threw them in the cart, and when I got home I went-- crap. We don't like mushrooms. Way to go, impulse buy.
    Last night as I was threading meat onto skewers for our dinner inspiration hit. I threw the portabellas in my left over marinade then threaded them on skewers and hoped for the best.
    They turned out really meaty and flavorful and wonderful! I was so excited. I want them again tonight for dinner... :)
    I havn't conquered the meatless meal yet, or the mushroom. But I am a step closer. Yay.

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  4. Oh, Valerie, I hear you... meatless meals are a challenge for us too. Even egg meals are regarded rather skeptically by certain family members if they don't have meat in them too! The mushrooms sound like such a good idea! We don't really eat them much either, but the kabobs sound really delicious. You have inspired me...maybe that will be my next fear to get over. :)

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  5. I didn't make fish for a long time because I didn't like it. I have been slowly developing my taste for it. It is wonderfully quick to prepare!

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  6. That's one of the best things about it, I think! Good luck in your taste-developing quest.

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  7. I love salmon, such a nice buttery taste, but I am just like you in my fear of cooking fish. I still don't feel like I have ever mastered it. Love your blog by the way.

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  8. Messy Mom, thanks for stopping by! It seems like a very forgiving fish, but not one that I've necessarily mastered either.

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  9. I avoided cooking fish for years because I was sure I would screw it up. I finally tackled that problem last year by starting with fish stew, fish soup and other recipes that were similar to things I already knew how to do well. Getting a little experience with cooking times and flavors that way really helped me work up the courage to cook whole fish fillets by themselves. So nice to see I'm not the only one who was scared of fish! :0)

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  10. Don't forget how good salmon is cooked on a George Foreman grill, too! Love, Mom

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  11. Hi, Mom. It is excellent on the George Foreman! Mine doesn't come apart like yours, though, so it's kind of a pain to wash.

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I'd prefer a great discussion to this one-sided pontification any day. Help a girl out. Please leave a comment.

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