Jamie Oliver: A man on a mission, a mission to single-handedly piss off every elementary school lunch lady in the United States.
He also wants to make me a better cook, and I am all for letting him, especially when making me a better cook involves bacon. I can easily become a better cook where bacon is at issue. Frankly, I can think of very few people who do not become better cooks when encouraged to wrap things in bacon.
Jamie Oliver also wants to be very up front about what you’re getting when you delve into one of his recipes. This one, for example, is called “Delicious white fish in smoked bacon with asparagus and lemony mayo.” So: teach me to be a better cook, yes. Teach me to be terse, no. Otherwise, he could easily have written a very short book called “Just Wrap That Shit All Up In Some Bacon.”
Maybe I’ll write that book. It might be short, but you know it would be a bestseller. Because, you know, bacon.
In this case, the fish in question is a hunk of monkfish, which is meaty enough to stand up to being wrapped in bacon. Monkfish that Brian practically had to wrestle from the hands of the so-called fishmonger at Whole Foods, and I think he’s still a little bitter about the experience.
“My boss told me not to” is not an excuse to not fulfill a customer’s request that you cut an even filet from the giant side of fish you have rather than make up his requested weight in scraps. Also, it’s totally a bad lie. You kind of suck.
But whatever, we got fish in the end and there’s still bacon to mitigate the bitterness. I zested a lemon, mixed it with some chopped fresh rosemary and gave my monkfish a patdown before wrapping it in the bacon. It got a quick dip in a medium-hot pan before the whole pan went into the oven to roast the fish and crisp the bacon.
Once the timer started on the oven, it was Mission: Mayonnaise.
Jamie did tell me that if I wanted to have an extra glass of wine, I could use store-bought mayo and whisk in some lemon juice to flavor and thin it, which makes me laugh and makes me wonder if he had had a few glasses too many when he wrote the recipe up. “Sure, use the processed crap. Waiter, a refill please!”
I would have taken pictures of the mayo-making process, but I was too busy trying to keep my right arm from falling off at the shoulder from all the whisking, the incessant whisking. Because you know I didn’t take the easy way out and make it in the FoPro, because I am an idiot. It’s actually a shame that there is no photographic evidence, because this was the strangest mayo I’ve ever made: it thickened up instantly, and by the time half the oil was whisked it almost resembled a pate a choux (aka creampuff dough). It took much aggressive whisking – aided by Brian – and a not-inconsiderable amount of lemon juice to get it to loosen up.
Luckily, Jamie directs that the mayo be on the extra-tangy side, so all the lemon juice was a good thing.
Simultaneous with Mission: Mayonnaise, we cooked up the asparagus; Jamie suggested steamed or boiled, but I like to saute it in a hot pan and get a little color on it. In the meantime, I forgot about the fish (see above, re: me = idiot) and thank god that monkfish is somewhat forgiving and was wrapped in bacon.
I scatted some asparagus in artful disarray on the plate, drizzled some mayo over it and carefully transferred a piece of fish to the plate. “Artful disarray” is going to be the new “rustic” when I make something that doesn’t look all perfect-like.
I was a little apprehensive about the asparagus mayo, because I’m not ordinarily a big mayo fan; I think Brian shared my apprehension. I should have more trust in Jamie Oliver, because roasted asparagus with very lemony mayo is really good, almost like asparagus with hollandaise but lemony-er. It doesn’t take much mayo, and it’s damn good. I have no idea what I’m going to do with the tub of exceptionally tart mayo that’s now sitting in the fridge – how long does homemade mayo last? – because you sure as hell wouldn’t want to put that shit on a sandwich.
The fish was solid. I mean, it was really good, but then you’d expect good fish wrapped in bacon to be solid. Brian had high expectations and found that while it “was near the hizzy” it was not “all up in the hizzy”; I assumed it would simply be solid, so I was content. I was a little sad that Brian wasn’t thrilled with the dish after his unfortunate experience with the fishmonger, but I think we were both pretty happy in the end.
Has the food revolution come to my kitchen? I like to think it was already here, but I’ll let Jamie and his pinchable cheeks revolutionize my dinner any day.
that looks fabulous…everything is always better with bacon!
Buy a mini fopro, works like a dream for mayo/aioli & isn’t such a pain in the ass to clean
by the way, homemade mayo… 3 or 4 days tops..remember, raw egg yolk
I’d make potato salad with the leftover lemony mayo with lots of dill
I use my immersion blender to make mayo now. SIxty second mayo is a wonderful thing.
Or, if you can stand to have the oven on in such fine weather, roast some potatoes and put the leftover mayo on them. It’s beautiful. Or on boiled eggs, although for that I’d chop some garlic to add to the mayo.
Ask Brian to go back to Whole Foods and get some artichokes (no where near the fishmonger….) steam those babies and you could be right in Mayo Heaven!
So he gets all self-righteous on the school kids and then tells the adults to eat bacon and mayo? Just checking.
tillie, truer words.
erika, i have one, i just didn’t use it. because like i said, idiot.
michele, it sounds like such a good idea, until i remember i hate dill.
elaine, i also have an immersion blender, and didn’t use that either.
FYI, the mayo is also yummy with blanched green beans.
fiddlemethis, i boiled up some new potatoes along with the beans, and it was damn good.
rachel, correct. although to be fair, i think he would get self righteous on me if i ate the bacon and mayo every night, too.
Jamie also has a recipe for roasting potatoes in bacon (could be pancetta) and then cooking compound butter stuffed pork chops on top. Oh sweet swine! There is serious fighting for those potatoes. I highly recommend it but its in my Food and Wine cookbook so I’m not sure which one of his cookbooks its in. It is soooo good. I figure a nice salad for lunch negates the bacon. Right?
I don’t think the “Wrap All That Shit Up In Bacon” book would be short at all. It would actually be more like the culinary version of The Magic Mountain, and easily rival The Joy of Cooking for heft. I mean, c’mon, there is a near infinite number of things that can be (or rather, SHOULD BE) wrapped in bacon for all out deliciousness. Yes, please. Write that book. Write it for all of us.
andrea, salad negates all matter of culinary evils. that dish sounds amazing.
tina, you’ve inspired me. i’ll get on the pitch letters asap.
What I can’t believe is that Jamie Oliver has a FREE kitchen where you can come and learn to cook and apparently no one goes there! WTF? If Jamie Oliver had a freek kitchen in my town I would be taking massive personal days to go hang out there. Who are these people?
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