By Kip Rixx
I’m quite sure that all cooks have found themselves in this situation at least once. Your day has been more hectic than anticipated, you get home late, you’re hungry, and a trip to the store is out of the question. You start rummaging around through your freezer and cabinets seeking–and praying–that there is some gourmet meal to be had, that somehow the food Gods will smile on you and you’ll find the makings for a meal. Such was the case when I concocted this recipe. I knew I had some fish filets in the freezer, and fish tacos did sound good, but the Gods did not smile on me with the required resources to finish the meal. The cabinets afforded a box of “Shake n Bake” for pork chops, some assorted nuts, and seasonings. Another trip to the freezer unveiled a bag of Brussels sprouts. YES! Another look in the refrigerator revealed a head of cabbage and some Thai sweet red chili sauce. Hummm. The creative wheels started to spin, and soon the meal was planned: Crispy Baked Fish, Red Chili Sprouts, and Asian Slaw. I prepared the meal, served it to my family, and was relieved when all raved about the spectacular fish and sides.
Shopping List (feeds 4)
8 large white meaty fish fillets (sole or halibut)
1 box seasoned baking coating
1 cup nuts (I use a mixture of almonds, pecans, and walnuts)
salt and lemon pepper
1 bag frozen Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons red chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 head green cabbage (core and slice extremely thin)
4 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons Thai sweet red chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Coarse grind nuts in a coffee bean grinder or food processor and mix into the seasoned coating mix.
3. Place mixture in a large plate; season filets with salt and lemon pepper, then press fish filets into the coating mixture to evenly coat all sides of fish.
4. Place fish on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
5. Place the Brussels sprouts in a microwave-safe dish.
6. Add the butter, chili powder, and salt.
7. Microwave on high until the sprouts are heated through, stirring often to combine and coat the sprouts with the butter and chili.
8. Cut the cabbage in half, core, and clean. Thinly slice the cabbage and add to large mixing bowl.
9. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, olive oil, chili sauce, ginger, and garlic and whisk.
10. Pour mixture over the cabbage and mix to coat evenly. (This slaw is best if you can make it a day in advance and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours.)
Since the inception of this recipe, I have used this fish and slaw combination, along with sliced tomato, cucumbers, and limes, to create Asian Fish Tacos by wrapping in a lettuce leaf and seasoning with the lime.
Kipp Rix has been in the fire service for 17 years, working as a volunteer with both Dona Ana County and currently San Juan County Fire as an Asst. District Chief. Presently he is also a career fire fighter with Farmington Fire Department (five years). Kipp has published two Fire House Cook Books (Fire House Publications, LLC – www.fhpllc.net) and uses a portion of the proceeds to support donations to firefighter’s needs and training fire fighters in the art and skills of Fire Fighter Survival “Getting Out Alive”. In 2010 Kipp became an adjunct instructor with San Juan College in the Fire Science Program, and became a featured chef with Eddie Sell’s FireHouseChefs.com.