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Fish dish from heaven

Mar. 28, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

I know my way around a salad and anything green is my canvas in which I will open up the flood gates of inspiration and pour out a story that will be forced into syndication and retold at any and all gatherings centered around food.

But when it comes to fish, I find I'm a bit challenged -- and in my search for a new and different technique for the catch of the day, I found there is only a speck of creative juices flowing among the multitudes of cooks, chefs and moms like me trying to bring life to a dead piece of meat.

With that said, I do have one tip I discovered after many attempts to recreate a fish dish that included something other than salt, pepper and squeezed lemon. There isn't anything under the sun that will rectify or reconstitute an over-cooked piece of fish. There is no redemption for the rubbery, chewy ball of "ick" that five minutes of chewing won't reduce. An overcooked piece of fish is enough to turn even the mightiest of carnivores into herbivores.

But cook it right, and you have the lightest, buttery, flaky piece of heaven known to man. That is what inspired this dish. I love soup and I love a white fish. Together, they are a golden, watery, deep flavored sea of goodness. Because I use a prepackaged chicken broth as the base, there is only a small amount of pan searing required for the fish.

This soup has surprised me. It's wholesome and completely different than I expected, but perfectly and richly satisfying. I am proud of this soup and feel it is five-star worthy.

Fish and Potato Soup with Kale and Bacon

2 filets of tilapia or flounder cut into 3-inch segments

1 cup torn, fresh kale

4 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp. red pepper

2 potatoes, sliced thin

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

32 oz. boxed chicken broth

1 T. apple cider vinegar

Chives or green onions for garnish

In a stock pan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. In a skillet, fry the bacon. Remove from the pan and toss in the potatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the fish and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Empty the contents of the frying pan into the stock pot with the boiling chicken broth. Add the kale, bacon, cilantro, pepper and vinegar. Serve with your favorite white wine.

Janet McCormick is the author of "10-Minute Meals" and owner of Let's Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.