Freshly caught fish, rolled in cornmeal and fried quickly in hot oil was one of the delights of my Tidewater Virginia childhood.
In those days (alas no more, due to pollution) we could drop a hook and line off the end of the dock (or off a dinghy) into the river at high tide and catch as many fish as we had patience for. My mother would clean and scale them for supper that night – so delicious.
Fried fresh fish from a really good fishmonger is still a luxury – quickly rolled in flour and egg, popped into hot oil until golden and eaten as quickly as possible.
Hake or Cod with Capers (Merluza con Alcaparras)
in Penelope Casas’ “1,000 Spanish Recipes” takes this simple dish to another level.
ALL YOU NEED IS: to feed 4
4 fish steaks such as hake, cod or another firm white fish, about 1 inch thick
All purpose flour for dredging
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
8 lemon wedges for garnish
1 Place flour and eggs into separate wide, shallow bowls
Season the fish with salt. Heat at least ½ inch of oil in a medium skillet over medium/high heat until it quickly browns a cube of bread.
Dredge the fish in the flour, dip into the beaten egg and place in the oil. Cook, turning on ce, until golden and cooked through. Transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels and let drain. Transfer to individual plates.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the capers and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Pour over the fish. Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve hot.