Cooking with Emma & Price is a monthly PNB BLOG series featuring seasonal recipes by two of our very own dancers. I have grown to know this beautiful couple as the cookers of the company. Every weekend they are out at the Ballard Farmers’ Market picking the freshest ingredients and always finding the best recipes. I asked them to contribute a monthly entry to the PNB BLOG so you can get to know them better and see what dancers go to for fuel (and desserts!).
Here is the second of many exciting posts by Emma Love & Price Suddarth.
Tomato. Mustard. Avocado. FISH. All fish—tilapia, tuna, halibut, SALMON. What do all these foods have in common? These are all foods that young Emma didn’t like. What else do they have in common? These are all foods that make appearances multiple times a week on our dinner menus now. Needless to say… my taste buds have changed. Or, in my present opinion, greatly improved.
If it’s not blatantly obvious already, I was a picky eater. No—wait—that’s an understatement. I know most all kids are picky; I was far past picky. My mom, superhero that she was, not only put up with it, but embraced it. She had the exceptional ability to push me to try things, even if it was just a bite. I always would taste it by the end, frequently grumbling along the way. Somehow, through it all, she managed to teach me “eating well,” even though I was entirely unaware at the time.
Food and the cooking of such—as evidenced by our regular contribution to this blog—have become a big part of daily life for Price and I. We cook five to six nights a week, for no greater reason than we love to. Cooking together in the evening after work was one of the primary reasons for us spending time together early on, much to the shock of the majority of my family—just ask them.
“Who is this guy that makes Emma so interested in seasonings and sauté pans?”
“Did Emma ask you how you prepare your brussels sprouts? Does that have anything to do with Price?”
“What did you say you had for dinner? YOU made that? Wait—you ate salmon? WILLINGLY?”
These were only some of the questions floating around amongst the Love family when Price first showed up. I have a feeling there were similar ones circulating in the Suddarth household (although I think that, between the two of us, I took the cake for pickiness as a kid). Point being, we really discovered the food culture and our interest thereof together. Maybe it wasn’t ballet in which we found common ground, it was soba noodles.
When planning our honeymoon, naturally, the topic of food came up. As someone who loves to read Yelp reviews, look at foodie pictures, and study menus extensively ahead of time, I wanted to see what our options would be. Luckily, the spot we found in Hana, Maui, not only hit the mark, it massively exceeded expectations. The restaurant associated with our resort in Hana emphasized fresh, local, natural ingredients—much aligned with our own approach to food. To this day, we maintain that we had some of the best food we’ve ever eaten while on our honeymoon. Thinking about the banana macadamia nut pancakes, the crab Benedict, the yam fries, the salmon with whipped potatoes—even just the fresh fruit plate—makes me want to hop on a plane and head that direction. However, the best bite of all, for which we would willingly canoe our way back to Maui right now, is the fish taco.
As I said before, I used to hate fish. There was little I wanted to eat less. Frankly, all I can say now is I don’t know what my problem was. We cook fish now more than almost anything else. I always gravitate towards fish entrees when examining the dinner menu at local restaurants—lucky me, I live in Seattle where the menus abound in just that. And, unsurprisingly, our natural response to finding a menu item somewhere that we love is to attempt to recreate it. We did just that on our arrival home from Maui.
The fish tacos we had in Maui were simple—white fish (whatever was in season at the time), shredded jack-cheddar cheese, heirloom tomato, avocado, and napa cabbage. However, they also contained one ingredient that truly set them apart, and forced us to order them multiple times over the one week we were there—“sour” orange aioli. When developing our own version, we merged ideas from a few different recipes until we found a combination that has become an almost-weekly staple to our dinner rotation.
It begins with whatever white fish is in season—it just so happens to be halibut season in Seattle, and we just so happened to have a buy-one-get-one-free halibut coupon from a local grocery store (Metropolitan Market), so we just happened to splurge on some of the greatest white fish out there for this take on the tacos. However, we have also used multiple other white fishes (tilapia, cod, etc.) and all have turned out wonderfully. Obviously fresh avocado is a must (honestly when is it not?). Next, we take the cabbage component one step further—cabbage tossed in the liquid from a pickling of red onion and jalapeno, the latter of which is also included.
Each year one of the Loves purchases a handful of the annual “Best of America’s Test Kitchen” magazines to pass out amongst the rest of the group, and this recipe came from the 2015 version. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, comes the orange aioli. The original recipe, an incredibly easy one, comes from Food and Wine—ours with a few “Suddarth” tweaks (for instance, we prefer the tanginess of Greek yogurt to the taste of mayonnaise). The younger me had no idea what she was missing.
(serves around 4)
1 very large garlic clove
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 c Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise/combination of both—depending on taste preference)
1/8 c extra-virgin olive oil (or a little extra to texture)
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 small red onion, halved and sliced thin
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded (depending on hotness preference), and sliced into rings
1 c white wine vinegar
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 lb white fish
Extra virgin olive oil
Chipotle chili powder
Pinch of brown sugar
Salt and pepper
½ head of green cabbage, shredded
In a food processor, combine garlic, orange zest, and mustard—pulse to combine. Add in Greek yogurt and process until smooth. With machine on, drizzle in olive oil and process until combined. Stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and cayenne to taste. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
For pickled onion/jalapeno:
Combine onion and jalapeños in a bowl. Bring vinegar, lime juice, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour vinegar mixture over onion mixture and let sit for at least 30 minutes). Mixture can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
Pat filet dry. Rub with extra virgin olive oil. Combine a few “shakes” of each spice in a prep bowl and mix to combine (we do them all fairly even). Sprinkle spice mixture over fish and rub it in. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Preheat cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Put a little oil in pan. Place the fish, flesh side down, in the pan for roughly 1-2 minutes, or until the spices begin caramelizing. Flip fish to skin side down and cook for another 10 or so minutes, depending upon the thickness until cooked through and fish will be flaky. Remove from pan and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
Toss cabbage with pickling liquid (we use all of it—add to taste). Divide fish evenly among tortillas. Top with pickled onions, cabbage, aioli, and avocado. Eat!
Aioli adapted from Food & Wine, pickled onion/jalapeno from America’s Test Kitchen Best of 2015
Did I mention we are making these for dinner tomorrow? We did have a buy-one-get-one-free halibut from Metropolitan Market after all—obviously we have to use the other filet…