Monday, January 09, 2012
The Family Meal: Meal 5 - Polenta & Parmesan Gratin, Sesame Sardines with Carrot Salad, Mango with White Chocolate Yogurt
Okay, I admit it. I picked what I thought was probably the easiest menu in the darn book. Why? Because I have a job. And it is routinely giving me a migraine. And riding home on mass transit with the psych ward patients from the county hospital doesn't alleviate said headache. So I picked a recipe with some polenta, some fried fish, and a little sliced mango. Quick and easy. Or so I thought.
Sardines are basically non-existent in Dallas. I know they eat them like they're going out of style in Europe, and I know they have all these supposed health benefits, but darn it, Americans don't like sardines. They're fishy and weird and stinky, right? Yeah, I thought so, too. The only sardines I had ever seen were in small cans. And I never saw anyone buying them. So it was obviously time for me to try some sardines. But where to buy them? I dropped by Whole Foods, but the kid working at the seafood counter shook his head. They only carry them around the holidays, but he could definitely order some. But I would have to purchase a certain base amount to do the order. Um, no. I need 10, read it, 10 sardines. I do not need 10 pounds. Thank you, next store.
I called Central Market, not actually expecting them to have any sardines. I asked the seafood guy if he had fresh sardines, being very specific about the fresh thing since I wanted to make sure he didn't direct me to the canned variety. I could hear the regret in his voice as he told me, "Sorry, I only have previously frozen ones". Uh, this is Texas. EVERYTHING remotely fishy is previously frozen. I was a very happy woman.
The rest of the ingredients were pretty basic until I got down my list to caramelized hazelnuts. Blanched hazelnuts? Sure. Raw hazelnuts? Sure. Caramelized hazelnuts? Sounds good, but I've never seen any. After much internet searching, it turns out that they're some kind of confection, but few places carry them. Luckily my internet searching also turned up some recipes for making them myself. An extra step, but hey, the recipe says caramelized hazelnuts, and I'm not going to question Chef Adria, but so much for "easy to find".