I had “minor surgery” on my gum yesterday morning and the dentists recommend that I eat a “soft diet” for a few days until the stitches heal a bit. I had some pospas or lugaw (congee) for lunch and dinner yesterday, and half a ripe papaya for a snack somewhere in between. It helped that I was high on pain killers and had an ice pack on my cheek for most of the afternoon and evening, but two consecutive pospas meals is about all I can take. :) So today, I decided to cook myself both lunch and dinner while trying to keep the spirit of a “soft diet” in mind. I remembered we had two large fillets of dapa (our version of sole or flounder type of flatfish) in the freezer, so I had the main ingredient for my “soft diet” dishes…
For lunch, I did a take on lemon sole (or sole meuniere), by just seasoning the dapa fillets (dry well with a paper towel first) with salt and pepper, then lightly dredging them in flour, and pan-frying briefly in butter until just cooked through. I removed the fillet and made a quick sauce with the butter in the pan, the juice of one lemon, and some chopped parsley and thyme. Drizzle this over the fish and enjoy. It certainly was soft, but for “sick food,” uncharacteristically delicious. I like dapa a lot, and while not as delicate as a true sole, it’s pretty darned good. Will have to remember to prepare this dish more often — it’s easy, quick and relatively economical.
For dinner, I was yearning for some “brighter” flavors, and I still had the other half of the fish so I scrounged around the fridge and pantry and came up with this simple, quick and incredibly flavorful dish… I seasoned the dapa fillet, dredged lightly in flour and seared the fish in a pan with hot olive oil. After 1 minute or slightly less, I turned off the heat, then flipped the fish over onto some thin slices of jamon serrano, then quickly added some chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, grilled red and yellow peppers and ripe cherry tomatoes into the pan. Top with more jamon serrano and place in a hot oven for say 2 minutes more. Take it out, sprinkle with some fresh flat leaf parsley and basil and drizzle with just a touch more olive oil if necessary. This was a surprisingly good dish. The jamon serrano got a bit hard and crisp (NOT good on a soft diet, but great otherwise) and provided the salty touch, the fresh and sun-dried tomatoes were just warmed through and provided an fresh slightly acidic burst of flavor, the bell peppers the sweetness and the herbs more flavor. Shallots and garlic would have been a nice addition. With a bit of bread to sop up the oil and juices and you are in dinner heaven in less than 10 minutes! For some reason, salty pork and seafood are a wonderful match… So much for boring and bland “soft diets”! :)