When Good Meals Go Bad

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

I fancy myself an intrepid cook, one who strives to try out new ingredients and push my own boundaries on a regular basis. Every so often, I'll pick some dish I've never made before -- flour tortillas, berry sabayon, cote du boeuf -- and I'll set out to do it with a confidence in my abilities that perhaps borders on hubris. Well, a couple of weeks ago, hubris struck an awful blow as I managed to turn three whole, fresh Florida pompano into cat food. Before you ask: No, I was not making cat food.

Actually, I was making pan-seared pompano fillets with mango beurre blanc. Unfortunately, most of my $40 worth of fish never made it to that stage. We don't need to dwell too much on the how or the why; let's just say I had neither the tools nor the abilities to properly fillet the thin little buggers. I grew pretty frustrated, and I may have destroyed a couple of kitchen utensils in the process. But really, all was not lost. I decided to roast one of them whole, and it came out OK, and a couple of my fillets turned out decently enough. Still, I ended up with a whole load of mangled pompano that I couldn't bear to just throw away.

So I ended up roasting said pompano shreds, then pulsing them in the FP with some spices and folding in some whipping cream. And just like that: pompano mousse. I then sliced up some French bread, brushed with olive oil, and popped it the toaster for some cheap crostini. Top those with the mousse, a bit of that mango beurre blanc that wasn't going anywhere, some capers, slices of grape tomato, and a little olive oil, and voila: Dinner was saved.

It wasn't the finest thing I've ever made, but it did the trick. And it also proved a point -- sometimes your game plan just doesn't work out when you're cooking things you've never tried before. So you've got to adapt.

Anyone else had a cooking experience go catastrophic? How'd you recover?

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.