I was looking for a new oven, cruising an appliance store with help from Sal the salesman. When I asked Sal (who sells a LOT of ovens) which brand his customers preferred he said, “Hard to say. 99% of them don’t cook.”
He went on to tell me about a typical customer who had called recently to ask Sal how to turn the appliance on. He’d bought the unit four years earlier, was about to try it for the first time, but he’d lost the instructions.
So, apparently many people are buying ovens with the same level of interest that I had some weeks ago when I bought a basketball hoop.
As a crabby cook, I often dream of never cooking again, of living on restaurant food and takeout for the rest of my life. (Or marrying Mario Batali.) But the fact is, I like a good, home-cooked meal once in a while, even if it means I have to do the cooking. (And if I never cooked again, what would I bitch about?)
Anyway, after my enlightening experience with Sal, I went straight home and cooked some lovely halibut with grape tomatoes vinaigrette, just because I felt the need to use my stove. The basketball hoop, however, is still sitting in its box and, for all I care, it might remain there for four years.
Halibut With Grape Tomatoes
1 ½ pints grape tomatoes
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
4 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 halibut filets, about 6 ounces each
1. Cut each tomato in half and place tomatoes in a medium bowl. Add the parsley, 3 tablespoons of the oil, the vinegar, garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and mix well. Set the tomatoes aside.
2. Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub the filets with the remaining oil, season them with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Cook, turning once, until the filets are golden brown, firm, and flake easily when you cut into the thickest part, about 4-5 minutes per side.
3. Place a filet on each of four plates and top with the tomatoes. Serve immediately.