DEMIAN'S "LEMON MERENGUE FISH"
or SHEPHERD'S PIE ONLY WITH FISH NOT LAMB
CALIFORNIA LING COD, RAW, VIRIDIAN GREEN FLESH!
(This is basically a shepherd's pie, only with Ling Cod, or firm fish like snapper, red cod, BASS, halibut, swordfish in a mashed potato 'pie crust' (Lamb in a mashed Potato crust, is the true shepherd pie, an Irish dish)
HOW TO CATCH: Take a line down deep. I used a jig with bait fish. Or you could use a gangion with four to six hooks but get down four hundred feet. Can be one or several baited jigs or HOOKS. Bottom fish will come on, like those red snappers, a foot long each. But as you get ONE or even a few on the line and as you pull the lines slowly up, big ole LING CODS will see these fish moving up and for some weird reason, lunge at the foot long fish, considering that a decent meal, swallowing them NOT whole but THEIR TEETH CLOSED ON THE BACK HALF. They will not let go, either. UP THEY GO. Their air bladders stun them mid trip and they ride to the top DAZED and are caught easily. HEAVY but easily.
HISTORICAL NOTE: My son Demian, always extraordinarily lucky, at age 7, caught the only ling cod fish on the Sta Barbara sports fishing boat which was sold out with 4 dozen experienced fishermen. And Demian caught TWO of them! Each Ling was as tall as he was. We have an 8mm. movie with him holding his arms straight out and the two lings reach the pier. The whole family fished, caught a few dozen other less pedigreed fish, and cleaned the passle at a kindly, local fish factory, as we were living in a tent at a trailer camp. We froze our entire catch at the factory, and next day went and got it. They turned down palm readings as they were born again Christians! VERY kind even if they didn't believe in spookery. Anyway, we returned to LA with it on ice, and ate fish like kings, for months. I am grateful to my father for getting me addicted to fishing at the same early age of 7, when I caught a prize barracuda that almost won the day's lottery. My father said "the other guy probably filled his with lead weights." So I learned cynicism and mistrust in the same breath that I learned to love fishing for my dinner and love eating seafood itself.
INGREDIENTS: 2 lemons, 4 big ling filets, onions, mushrooms, l l/2 tsp corn starch, black raisins, honey, curry powder. Potatoes for mashing. Parsley. Dash flour.
METHOD: FIRST MAKE MASHED POTATOES. Simmer, keep water low so that at the end of cooking, there's no water left in the pan! Season and mash the potatoes. Add butter, some cream, parmesan if you want, salt, pepper. Set aside in warm place, covered.
Put your daily catch, your LING COD fish fillets in foil in pan or glass or enamel casserole and bake; (no lemon yet. No lemon EVER next to foil unless you want alzheimer's) bake at 325 for l0-l5 min. In a few minutes, you will use fish's juices retrieved from foil to make a creamy sauce. Get all other ingredients assembled and ready so that when fish is finished, the sauce can be made in l minute and dish assembled.
Melt the butter in a pan, adding garlic, mushrooms, onion, and brown lightly. Then add chopped parsley, l tbsp flour and brown slightly. Add half and half or real cream and a few egg yolks, stirring until you have a thick pudding. To thicken without egg yolks, vegans, wet down 2 tsp cornstarch w. water or milk, stir well, and then add to frying butter / cream mixture, stir until thick and custardy. Add juices from fish to thin sauce a little.
NOW COOL this custard SLIGHTLY, add lemon juice and lemon rind, so it's sour and tangy, then honey so it's mildly sweet, and curry powder so it's aromatic. (Add any amt you want, it's to taste. EVERYONE will like a very mild curry flavor and not know what it is. I prefer stronger but your call...). REAL IMPORTANT: SOAK the black raisins before you add them to this sauce. Softens them. Or add GOLDEN raisins. Stir this BRIGHT YELLOW 'gravy' or custard until the sauce is thick with little raisin, onion, mushroom lumps in it.
Take a greased serving cassarole, line with the mashed potatoes, as if for Shepherd's Pie. Set fish fillets inside, pour plenty of yellow sauce over them, then cover with more potatoes. Rub top of potatoes with more golden lemon sauce, then flame under a broiler, or in oven. Decorate with drained capers or cilantro or thin sliced lemon circles. Cut a slice of pie for each diner as if it were a real shepherd's pie! Serves four to six.
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