Sunday, June 24, 2012
Grouper Cheeks Cuban Black Beans + Rice
In my book if you've never tried fish cheeks you haven't lived. Pair grouper and trigger fish cheeks with Cuban black beans and rice and you're as close to heaven as you'll be on earth. I learned about the delicacy of fish cheeks from an old boyfriend I used to fish with back in the late 1970s. I used to fish for trout in high mountain streams which is where I learned about fish cheeks.
Lots of folks discard the head of a fish, but the head and other parts of the fish can be used in soups and stews for flavoring. In the head is the fish cheek delicacy which is easily removed by peeling back the flap of skin just below the eye of the fish. Inside is revealed the encapsulated fish cheek.
We went to Shellys Seafood for our weekly fish purchase and I noticed they had a whole pan of fish cheeks See them there on the far right side of the case. I ordered a pound of fish cheeks which were a mixture of grouper and trigger fish. As they were packaged up I was already thinking about how I would cook them.
I'd been planning to make some Cuban black beans and rice, so I thought that could perfectly accompany the fish cheeks. After soaking a pound of black beans over night, I cooked them on the stove top for several hours. Above you see the black beans cooking with garlic, ground cumin and oregano added to the water.
While the beans were cooking I sauted some chopped cubanele peppers, celery, ginger, and garlic. After those softened, I added some halved yellow pear tomatoes and oregano and ground cumin. I set the mixture aside to add to the rice later. When the beans were nearly cooked through and the water almost gone. I started a wild rice mixture to cook. After the rice was cooked I added in the sauteed vegetables.
While the rice was cooking I beat one egg and dipped my fish cheeks in to coat them and then rolled them in a gluten free cracker mix and sauteed them till just brown. Cook the fish cheeks till just brown and warmed through. Try not to over cook the fish cheeks.
At the last minute I chopped some fresh cilantro which I tossed lightly into the rice mixture. When the separate dishes were ready I put the beans in the bottom of a bowl, topped with the rice mixture and then a couple of fish cheeks on top.
Since I made a large batch of each item we can have the fish cheeks over Cuban black beans and rice for several days. We're expecting several days of continuous rain so we're all set for meals. Now to get to finally get to some clay. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.