I had no idea what Cobia was but saw the frozen board of a fillet at the fish counter and asked for a quarter-pound portion.
Back at the ranch, which is a small apartment with a cabin kitchen just large enough for a small island, I had a one-planter garden of basic, Rosemary, and oregano and the most basic of basics: a head of garlic and a red onion and a lime. On the stove, and purchased recently for the experience of using it, an 11-3/4-inch carbon steel frying pan.
What would “Chef” do?
Wash and sea salt the fish (also added: “Spice Hunter” seafood spice) and let come up to room temperature.
Chop a two or three cloves of garlic and quarter of an onion (a guess before and after).
From the garden: part of a stalk of basil, a sprig of Rosemary, and a small stem of oregano (to be held in reserve as a garnish).
With patience, heat the pan (low-medium) with butter and olive oil.
Sautee the garlic and onion; throw the fish on the pan (skin side down); throw in the basic and Rosemary; and let sear and cook a couple of minutes — and then cover and briefly steam through; whistle a bit; uncover; add lime slice and squeezed lime; plate.
“Chef” would not make such a mess!
However, the deep flavor of the cobia survived (the purchase was really about tasting the fish).
With the herbs — butter+oil, basil, garlic, and lime — there’s a useful package, I think for a rough and rustic treatment of fish.
Fresh Rosemary sauteed and steamed adds always its bit of atmosphere.
Was it a meal?
There had been a simple Romaine-based salad preceding and leftover restaurant scampi proceeding, but in that confession is the problem with “Cooking Single” — if we’re not on kitchen track but a little bit curious and creative, getting to the cutting board with the full grocery store at hand and “putting on the rice” to simmer into plumpness may not happen — after all, there’s leftovers!
Nonetheless, I tell myself, don’t worry about the symphony: focus on just one song at a time.
The song was the fish and the accompaniments at hand made for short work — and then the pan, the sizzle, the steam, the hiss of squeezed lime on hot butter and oil: all pleasant; all encouraging.
Let elaboration come naturally.
It was an afterthought suited to the Panasonic Lumix Lx5 point-and-shoot, a now old unit but with Zeiss glass on it (and a Circular Polarizing filter before it) and some imagine stabilization making the stove’s light lit snapshots possible and editable.
“Cooking Single” is today a new category on this catch-all blog while I continue beneath the “Communicating Arts” banner — all the good Nikon gear has been maintained and the greater photography capability remains at market for images taken and potential journalism services although this older fellow is no slowing down. Naturally.
I would ask visitors to this blog: do you really want to know what’s in this beginner’s spice drawer?
And given access to Chef and all the other masters online and on the bookshelf, is there something to “work” with the title “Cooking Single”?
I may suggest at the outset that the dimensions of cooking are separable x geography x ingredients x methods and processes x social context of preparation x (ultimately) aesthetic philosophy.
We’re not supposed to dine alone.
But we do.
In that freedom — or sad fact of life — there may be room to think about how to get character into cooked-from-scratch meals with a minimum of expense, fuss, and time but with the intent to maximize the pleasure taken in eating standing up beside the stove.