A site for sore tastebuds and a woeful wallet

It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Right

Everything was going along swimmingly until the fish stuck to the grill.  It was a beautiful Father’s Day, just right for firing up the barbecue.  I was going to grill tilapia fillets with a side of marinated and grilled yellow squash.  My husband likes this side dish very much.  It’s so flavorful, it’s almost like eating steak.  If you knew my husband, getting his meat and potatoes taste buds to eat squash and fish has been really quite an accomplishment. 

They’ve discovered our taste buds not only sense sweet, sour, and salt but also this new one they call “umami”, the savory buttery meaty flavors.  Things that contain umami are things other than just meat and butter.  The other foods are red wine, ripe tomatoes, cabbage, soy sauce, sardines, mushrooms…well many different things but these foods seem to stimulate the brain with a savory sensation that all regions of the tongue can sense.  A lot of biology lessons could describe the exact actions involved with our neuro-receptors but all we need to know really, is that they are there, and making a marinate with some of these flavors can make a bland old squash taste like a juicy steak…or at least remind you of one.

So I made a marinate with olive oil, Worcestershire, soy sauce, red wine, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  A gallon zip-lock bag was a good receptacle to hold all this and two 1/4″ thick sliced squash.  Thirty minutes was enough time to let it all soak in.  The squash would need much more cooking time than the tilapia so I put them on first, grilling them on both sides until they were soft but not mushy, and not burnt.  My grill has a hot spot in the middle so rotating lesser done ones into that spot was necessary…a little char wasn’t such a bad thing. 

Now when it came to the fish I learned a valuable lesson.  I usually grease up the rungs on my grill before I set anything down on it.  I’ve done this so much that they are almost naturally non-stick.  I thought that the fish would become too flaky to stand up to the regular grill and fall apart and even fall through so I purchased a finer grill protector made for such occasions.  Only problem, I forgot to give this protector a protective coat of oil before putting the fish over the flame.  Just before grilling I dusted the fillets with flour and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper.  It was going so well until it came time to grill the other side.  They were indeed flaky but I nearly ruined them trying to turn them.  The result looked a mess but it was still grilled tilapia…just not the Better Homes and Garden variety.  Oh well, the beer was cold, the squash was full of umami, potatoes in the microwave never go wrong, but the fish, though looking a bit roughed-up was still fresh, tender and flakey…just not pretty.  It doesn’t always turn out right, but it did turn out to be a delicious and happy Father’s Day.  



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