Feed A Man For Life
by Susu and MaceVindaloo
Menu: "Bad Woman" Fish Fillets | Creamy Fish Macaroni Bake | Fish and Corn Chowder | Melted Asiago on Whole Grain Toast
But whatever his background, since joining his religious order, he's learned many things about life. By the time we first meet him, he had made up his mind to re-join the world after living in isolation as a monk, and he gave the impression that he had grown a bit tired of the life behind the walls.
One thing he did miss: his vegetable garden. And once, a benefactor had donated a quantity of fish to the Southdown Abbey! Fish was a big deal in the 'verse, where it was a rare thing that only the very, very wealthy could afford. But also, the very very poor, if they knew how to forage for it. Everyone else tended to eschew it because it was smelly if not prepared on time, finecky to cook or prep, and what to do with the leftovers?
The brothers at the abbey did not waste a thing, and took seriously the teaching of the messiah: if you give a man a meal, he eats for a day; if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. This extended to using up the fish in a timely and appropriate manner. By planning on how to cook and present it, the leftovers of one meal became a whole new meal the next time it was served.
The benefactor was visting the abbey to "acquire peace," and expected to be served the fish he'd donated. To the brothers' credit, they served the same fish three times, and the guest enjoyed it each time as a new dish.
"Bad Woman" Fish Fillets
The Southdown Abbey was a male-only monastery. Most of the inmates had lived another life before coming to the religious order, and so had known and enjoyed the company of women. This classic preparation was called "au bonne femme" or "in the manner of the good wife" and it meant nothing more than using mushrooms in the sauce. Many of the men missed women while they were at the abbey, and when they could afford to, they would use recipes with feminine names. In any case, it's a good way to prepare light fish, and remember not to overcook it. (They like this sauce not-thick so they can dip toasted or fresh bread into it, and they don't broil it like the really classical preparation of "au bonne femme," but then again, there are no women there to scold them. So they called this dis "bad woman" instead!)
Remove the fillets onto a platter. Sprinkle over with some chopped parsley, if desired. Tent some foil over the fish to keep it warm while you prepare the sauce/broth.
Boil the sauce over high heat till its reduced by half its volume. Add the cream or milk.
To serve, place one or two fish fillets in a bowl, and ladle the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle over with parsley.
This dish will feed about 8 people, but if you are planning to make use of "progressive leftovers," then plan for it for feed 4.
Creamy Fish Macaroni Bake
A sauce is a rich version of a soup, in a sense, so just adding water to it can make it into a soup. But after eating a saucy dish, to make the leftovers into something different, the new dish should be much less "like" the old one. But what if you added too much water? No fear, you can cook macaroni in the former sauce, and it will absorb the excess water, which will be flavored like the fish and the sauce. Use an elegant tube shape, like penne, and arrange the leftover fillet rolls decoratively within the pasta, servie it with a green salad, and no one will realize that this is a recycled dish!
Serves up to 8, or 4 if you plan to make the chowder.
Fish Corn Chowder
Remove from the skillet and let it cool for a minute before cutting into 2 or 4 pieces.
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