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The Cross and the Cleaver:… Simplicity

By Rev. Piotr

It used to annoy me to no end when people with a knack for something made their activity look easy and effortless; while I sweated, cursed, messed up, burned, and made it crooked … oh yeah, did I mention cursing? One of my memories of such situations are about my boyhood friend. It was one of those friendships the books are written about, and movies are made of. Do you have, or had, a friend like that? Anyway, he didn’t just ski, he glided with grace atop of snow powder; he didn’t just cast his fishing lure, his movements would put to shame award winning ballet dancers; and you could not tell the difference between his small scale airplane models and some high quality die-cast even if you tried. While our friendship remains one of my most cherished memories, I equally remember the envy and feelings of inadequacy. The other memory is that of Dawn, my wife, in the beginning of our courtship. We just came in from a miserable, cold, rainy day; the kind that soaks even your bones and soul. I offered to buy pizza, she said she will quickly whip something up; and she did. Within 15 minutes we were seated to a pot of hot, aromatic and delicious fish stew that Dawn whipped out of several cans we had in the pantry and some herbs hanging around the spice cabinet. It was over 20 years ago, and she still has not shared the recipe with me!

Chef Marco Pierre White, whom I mentioned in this column before, was once asked why he is using so few seasonings. His answer was simple. He said: “the more you add up, the more you take away.” I often lose patience with dishes where reading through a recipe I forgot the first ingredient having finally arrived to the last one. Simple cooking and/or cooking simple does not have to be stressful.

So how about a simple middle eastern style fish stew? It originated with Marco Pierre White, and I tried to make it even simpler and more adaptable to what we can buy here in Kindersley. Give it a try and trust me… it is simple. Amounts in this recipe are for two-people dinner plus maybe leftovers.

Cup of salmon (cheap, pink stuff), cut into 1-inch cubes.

Cup of white-fleshed fish (cod loins, haddock, halibut, thicker basa – whatever is on sale), cut into 1-inch cubes.

Cup of raw, defrosted, peeled shrimp (whatever size but cut jumbo ones to match the fish).

Toss all the above together, drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle of lemon juice and pinch of sweet paprika, or smoked paprika, or cayenne pepper, or couple of shakes of your favourite hot sauce, if you like it spicy and have no sweet paprika, or a pinch of curry powder, or a pinch saffron should you have some.

Let it marinate on the countertop for 15-20 minutes, while you …

In a large saucepan, or pot heat up two cups of tomato juice (or canned cream of tomato soup) mixed with cup of half-and-half mix of orange juice and water, or a cup of white wine, or half-and-half mixture of white wine and red wine.

When liquid is bubbling, gently drop all the marinated seafood into it, bring t boil, cover and simmer for 5 min.

Garnish with cilantro, or parsley, or don’t, and serve with rice, or crusty bread, or just bread, or gnocchi, or small-pieces pasta.

Simple!!! …. and easy

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