Recently I mentioned how our route to the downtown hospital in which our grandbaby was born took us past the scene of the old Casa Linda Wyatt's cafeteria, where my parents took me to dine at least once a week as I grew up. I mentioned my affection for carrot salad, which always has seemed like a taste of heaven and which I've never been able to replicate--or even move close to it--in my own kitchen.
Another Wyatt's staple during that era was its baked fish with a piled-high crusty topping of crushed almonds and bread crumbs. Carrot salad, baked fish, Wyatt's inimitable green beans, and a layer chocolate cake--those were my selections in the cafeteria line. Those choices never varied. How I longed now to be able to prepare something akin to that fish entree as well!
A few years back Family Circle magazine helped my cause by printing a recipe for Nut-Crusted Fish Fillets with Stir-Fry. The herbed bread-crumb-and-almond topping absolutely made the flounder underneath it to die for. Just last week I turned to this long-preserved-but-yet-untried recipe in my binder. With the deed accomplished, I thought I was back in the cafeteria line and dining at Wyatt's again in the secure company of my parents, one on either side. Precious memories!
Healthening-up this Family Circle recipe is the inclusion of the stir-fried vegetables ("stir-fry" being surely unheard-of, at least in my family, in my growing-up days). Green beans and matchstick carrots made the dinner complete, not to mention colorful as everything.
Nut-Crusted Fish Fillets
4 slices reduced-calorie wheat bread
1/3 cup sliced almonds, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 flounder fillets, about 6-ounces each
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 gloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots (1/4 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 large scallions, chopped, for garnish
lemon slices, for garnish
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Place bread in bowl of food processor; whirl until fine crumbs are formed. In a small bowl combine crumbs, chopped almonds, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Stir in olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest until all ingredients are moistened. Season fish with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Fold fillets in half and place in prepared baking dish. Spoon 1/4 of the bread topping over each fillet. Bake in 400- degree oven for 17 to 19 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
Stir-Fry: While fish is baking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add green beans and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 14 to 16 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. If skillet gets too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water. Serve fish with stir-fry vegetables. Garnish with scallions and lemon slices.