1. Buy a couple of pounds of nice little filets of grey sole because they’re on special at Whole Foods.
2. Realize a couple of days later that the filets aren’t getting any younger, and that you have neither citrus nor white wine in the house. Be alarmed. Have your husband point out that you do have Martini & Rossi vermouth.
3. While talking to Graydon on the phone, lightly fry the filets in a little butter, not quite getting them done. Stack them on a plate as you work. Realize at this point that you have three large fresh tomatillos (which are very acid) and some fresh dill in the refrigerator.
4. Ring off. You need both hands. Put some more butter in the pan. Take the tomatillos and shred them fine. Toss them into the pan along with a smallish finely-chopped onion. While it cooks—rapidly—season it with white pepper and a tiny amount of mace.
5. Gently hold the fish on the plate while tipping all the liquid off them into the sauce. Put fish and plate into the microwave, but don’t turn it on.
6. Grab the fresh dill out of the fridge and snip it up with a scissors—that’s about a half cup when snipped. Toss about two ounces of vermouth into the sauce, stir, add the snipped dill, stir again. Give it one good crank of black pepper and adjust the salt. Turn off the fire.
7. Turn on the microwave for about thirty seconds. Carefully move the fish filets onto dinner plates and pour the sauce over them. Serve immediately.
Patrick liked it a lot.Addendum: The subsequent discussion of fish led to the following exchange:
Jonathan Vos Post: I’ve also heard that octopi and squid are particularly fast and efficient at generating human-desired edible protein in extraterrestrial settings.
Stephan Zielinski: Oh, that’s a great idea. Pick the two most tentacle-intensive forms of life on the planet, and make a point of eating them right there in the aliens’ faces. “Yeah, we could have brought along something furry—but we find it more efficient to eat things that look like this.”When the tripods are striding across the landscape as the soldiers within harden their ammonia-circulation-peristalsis-nexi with images of human explorers chowing down on things indistinguishable from little Squorklings, I hope you’ll be happy.