11.29.09: dinner (celebrating an easy train ride home with norwegian mackerel).

Norwegian Mackerel with Lemon & Shallots

It was an early holiday miracle:  Amtrak delivered us home in one piece, ultimately only arriving a few minutes later than scheduled.  For the Sunday after Thanksgiving, it was something to be very thankful for indeed, because we were able to enjoy a quiet Sunday afternoon strolling in Morningside Heights, purchasing a few things for dinner and lunches that week at Westside and deciding on what lighter meal to have after a string of rich dinners and lunches over the prior four days.

Fish was naturally an obvious choice; I was personally in the mood for some whole sardines, but we were going to limit ourselves to the selection available at the fish market at 108th and Amsterdam.  They were no sardines in stock that day, unfortunately, but our helpful fishmonger suggested some wild-caught Norwegian mackerel as an apt substitute as it was an oily fish with a taste similar to that of a sardine.  Our interests piqued by both the suggestion as well as the appearance of the fish, we ordered one up to be dressed and scaled (though the latter wasn’t necessary, as there were no scales on the fish’s skin to begin with).

Chickpea and Orzo Salad

We stuffed the fish with some lemon and baked it with some white wine, shallots and thyme, and the final results were nothing short of very satisfying.  I’m usually not a fan of eating fish skin unless it’s nearly burnt to a crisp, but here it simply melted in my mouth and was barely distinguishable from the delicious meat.  We ended up placing the plate between us and picking the meat off the bones as well as indulging in an arugula salad and this chickpea-orzo salad that comes from Giada’s Family Dinners, albeit with a white balsamic dressing instead of the red wine vinaigrette.  While this was not quite the austere fish, brown rice and greens dinner that would have been the ideal cleansing meal, this was a nice transition to simpler fare–and I was able to get a big container of this pasta salad to bring with me to lunch.

I’m also pretty sure that Michael is going to run down to the fish market sometime this week to pick up another one of these beauties to have for dinner this week.

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