I have not eaten tomatoes since about a week after Little Elf was born. Every time I do it seems to upset his tummy and he gets fussy. Our pediatrician said that I should try again when he’s about 6 months old, but in the meantime she and we agree – there’s no point in exacerbating the problem by continuing to eat them.
This does create a bit of a problem though. I didn’t realize how many of my go-to meals included tomatoes. Tomatoes are a quick and easy flavor enhancer for food since they are free-glutamate heavy. Making a stew? Throw in some tomatoes, no problem. Pizza? Tomato basil is my favorite. Brainless weeknight dinner? Pasta with tomato sauce… and the list goes on. I’ve had to get creative with what I’m cooking at night since even a small amount of tomato (ketchup as a dip, for example) seems to trigger a bad reaction for Little Elf.
When I was growing up my father developed a fish spice recipe that really enhanced the flavor of pretty much any type of fish. I’m not sure what the original recipe was, but I’ve tried to recreate that spice mix over several trial and error sessions. The following recipe is what I finally came up with. Interestingly, it uses soy sauce, which is another glutamate-heavy ingredient. I think it’s pretty darn good. I often use this on salmon or trout, but I think it would taste equally as good on other types of fish.
Spiced & Broiled Salmon
Note: This recipe does not include precise amounts for a reason— each piece of fish is a little different in size. It is meant as a loose guideline to spicing your fish no matter how much you have. This recipe assumes that you are spicing fish fillets – not a whole, unboned fish.
- Soy or Tamari Sauce
- Dry basil
- Dry oregano
- Dry parsley
- Dry mustard powder
- Granulated garlic (not garlic salt)
- Black pepper
- Olive oil (you could substitute any non-aromatic oil, I often use avocado oil)
1. Start your oven broiler (I use the high setting, since I have both a “high” and “low” broiler setting), and adjust your rack to the second position from the top.
2. Spray (or oil) your pan with olive oil and arrange your pieces of fish skin side down. Spray (or oil) the top of the fish with olive oil as well. This will grab the fat-soluble flavors from the spices and pull them into the fish.
3. Using a spoon, pastry brush, or some other utensil, ladle soy sauce over the fish – about 1-2 tsps per 3×5 inch piece.* This will not make your fish taste Asian, I promise! It does enhance the flavor of the herbs and adds a slightly salty flavor to the dish.
4. Evenly distribute the dry mustard powder and granulated garlic. There should be a fine to medium dusting of both on the fish. I have a note to not use garlic salt because it is so common in kitchens. If you add garlic salt and the soy sauce, the finished dish will be far too salty. If you don’t have granulated garlic, skip it.
5. Distribute the dry basil, oregano, and parsley over the fish. It should be evenly flecked with green. Don’t forget to rub the dry spices between your hands as you sprinkle them on to release the aromatics!
6. I finish with a very light sprinkle of fresh cracked black pepper. This gives a little kick to the overall dish, but you could skip it if you have non-pepper eaters or small children.
7. The general rule of thumb is to bake fish 10 minutes per inch of thickness. (Meaning if your fish is two inches thick vertically, you’d bake it for 20 minutes.) I have flouted this rule a time or two and regretted it… the fish ends up over-baked and dry. If you are in doubt, dig into a thick portion of the fish with a fork to see if it meets your preferred doneness level.
*It’s a bit strange, but I use a melon baller to distribute the soy sauce, garlic and mustard. My melon baller has a little hole in the bottom of the cup, which makes it perfect for shaking out the spices evenly. Alternatively, you could use a tea ball to shake out the spices.