The most common question I get about this blog is: "What do I make for a family dinner that everyone (ie kids and parents) will eat?" Tough question. The whole issue of a family dinner is a little vexed, especially if your kids are still in that tricky eating phase where they seem to subsist on a very limited rotation of two or three different meals. This leaves the rest of the family with two choices - either eat spaghetti bolognaise every second night for years, or slowly try and expand the boundaries a little.
About a year ago, I decided that I had spent enough time as a short order cook making different meals for kids and adults. It was time for us all to start eating the same food i.e. it was time for the kids to move beyond the spag bol / schnitzel / sausage / pasta rotation, and start enjoying meals that the darling husband and I also wanted to eat. When I discovered this dish, it felt like a personal gift from Bill Granger (thanks Bill!), via his Bill's Food cookbook. It seemed familiar enough to the kids for them to try it, while also delicious for the adults. It also opened the kids up to different soups. This fish and vegetable braise now makes regular appearances at our place. It feels like the sort of homemade comforting food that everyone wants to eat, regardless of whether it has been a tough day at the office or the playground. Incidentally, Bill's Food has at least six or eight recipes that worked for us while bridging that kids' food / adults food divide. In some cases you need to modify seasonings or drop the parsley or adapt the vegetables, but for me, it was a good starting point on the road to single meals at night.
Parmesan-Crusted Blue-Eye and Braised Potatoes With Peas
from "Bill's Food" by Bill Granger
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
45g grated parmesan
1 cup flour
4 blue eye fillets or other firm white fish
2 tbls olive oil
4 potatoes, steamed or boiled until tender
1 onion sliced into thin rings
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups chicken stock
Slice potatoes. Heat 1 tbl olive oil in a pan, and fry onions until they are translucent not brown (about 5 mins). Add the peas and toss well. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 5 mins. Add the potatoes and cook for another two mins. Set aside, keeping vegies warm.
Meanwhile, mix breadcrumbs and parmesan in a bowl and season to taste. Crack the eggs into another bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Place the flour in a third bowl. Dip a fish fillet in the flour then the eggs then the breadcrumb mix. Repeat until all the fish are coated (you can do this up to two hours ahead, just keep the fish in the fridge once it is crumbed.
Heat 1 tbl olive oil and butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the fish and cook gently for about 2 mins on each side or until the fish is golden and cooked through (do it in batches if your pan is small). Divide the vegetables among the serving bowls, and serve the fish on top.