And what a meal it was: poached catfish and garlic mashed potatoes.
Since I’m a bit of a “fish-snob”
- y’know, highly opinionated about that delicate range when fish is between raw and overcooked—I knew the real test of the cooker would be how it handled fish. So we jumped right in with catfish which is I think the hardest fish to cook. Other fish will be OK - OK for folks who aren’t fish-snobs of course—if they’re undercooked but underdone catfish is a chewy revolting nightmare.
We also pushed the envelope in the amount of food we cooked at one time. Three fillets of roughly .6 each for a total of 1.8 lbs of fish. We used the 9” Graniteware roaster and our tried and true “windshield reflector” cooker. The larder didn’t provide much flavorful liquid to use as poaching sauce so we emptied the last .5 cup of salsa from a jar. Come to find out, this concoction didn’t have enough salt for our tastes so when it came time to plate it up we scattered the fish with capers which were the perfect addition.
And we accidentally tested another variable, namely how LITTLE time in the sun it takes to cook food. Our meal was out in the sun by roughly 9:30 this morning but we had to pull it out by 3:30 due to a rain storm. I can’t say that it was bright, clear sunshine the whole day either. We weren’t ready to eat that early so we took the whole roaster and wrapped it in a blanket to keep the heat in. We finally got around to eating roughly at 7:00, after a deep end-of-the-week nap. The internal temperatures were roughly 91 degrees Fahrenheit at 11:00 AM and at 3:30, it was about 130 degrees. When we ate, some 3 and a half hours after it had been taken out of the cooker, the fish was still 107 degrees, not blistering by any means but still warm enough to count as a “warm meal” especially in mid-July.
Basically, the fish was perfect. Of course it was moist because it was poached but most importantly it was cooked all the way through. I started eating with the thickest sections, the parts that are most likely to be rubbery and they flaked away with my fork. Perfect. As it ended up, our son skipped out on dinner so Mib7 and I ate ALL the catfish. Yum!
If any cheating happened it involved our side dish of garlic mashed potatoes. We cooked five little Yukon Gold potatoes with about a half dozen peeled cloves of garlic. We cooked them yesterday but succumbed to fast food for dinner so we didn’t eat them. Tonight we popped the potatoes and garlic into the microwave to heat them up, mashed them and devoured them. Again a little salt and pepper were needed. The potatoes are very moist and “creamy” even though we added no dairy products. Part of that has to be attributed to Yukon Golds which are a pretty nice potato but I’d bet something is being contributed by the cooking technique that keeps the moisture inside the cooking vessel in contrast to, say the dry heat of baking. (Ha, that almost sounded like I knew what I was talking about!)
I continue to be impressed by the efficiency of the “windshield reflector” cooker, so much so that I’m going to look for another reflector to make another one. I’m going to try to upload some photos just to prove how SIMPLE it is.
I still have to try
- and succeed - at rice but there are many days left in summer.