The Chef pulls recipes from many sources, a tasty Pollo en Mente (mint roast chicken) from Los Feliz's Mexico City Restaurant; Pear Crumble from the Food Networks website; and many recipes ideas from the Los Angeles Times daily newspaper's Wednesday Food Section. The Chef looks forward to his weekly foodie fix from The Times. The writing clearly describe recipes and cooking techniques, very helpful to The Chef, and S. Irene Virbila's restaurant reviews showcase local real world cooking trends. It can be a real puzzle converting a recipe that uses top notch ingredients into a palatable 99 cent entree. The 99 Cent Chef does his best; some recipes translate better than others. One recent Food Section recipe stands out: Conserved Tuna or Homemade Canned Fish Steaks in Oil by Times staff writer, Russ Parsons. Why? Because the 99c only Stores often carry frozen 4 oz. fish fillet steaks of salmon, perch, tilapia, pollock, mahi mahi, and shark.
Slow cooked in a warm garlic/dried herb/olive oil bath, these fillets in oil meld, crumbled into your favorite cooked pasta, and the oil is a flavorful sauce. The Chef likes canned tuna, but fish slow cooked in flavored oil is less crumbly, with bigger flakes, and the flavors are more varied and intense. Any firm fish works well; the trick, as always with fish, is to not overcook it. Albertsons grocery has been selling a medley of 4 oz. frozen fish fillet packages for a dollar each. Grab a couple fillets and try out this newspaper-inspired dish.
2-4 4 oz. packaged 99.99 cent fish fillets - salmon, mahi-mahi, shark, halibut or any firm fish
1-2 cups 99.99 cent olive oil blend
1 tbsp. minced garlic (fresh or jar)
Dried herbs including 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp. each of oregano and basil or your favorite herbs
In a small pot add enough defrosted fish fillets to cover the bottom. Fill with enough olive oil to just cover; add garlic and dried herbs. Cook at lowest temperature until fish color changes to tan (or light pink for salmon), about 10 minutes (for less oil: fill pot half way to top of fish, and after 5 minutes turn fish over). Turn off heat and allow to cool for a few minutes; the fish will finish cooking. You can store in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days. The fillets in oil will top your favorite pasta for the rest of the week. An extra trick is to reheat fish by sauteing with a seasonal farmer's market vegetable, like asparagus or string beans, in the "fish oil" and mix with pasta.