There is a bird who is trying to drive me crazy. It’s either a woodpecker or some sort of seed hiding bird or I have completely lost my mind. I haven’t seen the little devil, but I’m well aware of his existence. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. I have no need for an alarm clock because he knocks on the wall right above my head, daily and on a regular schedule. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. He has no concern for my well being or sanity, only a desire to make annoying noises at inappropriate hours. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. When I finally can’t take it anymore and I get out of bed he follows me from the wall outside my bedroom to the wall outside my living room. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. As I sit down to write a blog entry, he’s there, making himself known. He might stop for a little while, but he’ll be back. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. I tried to outsmart him by going to the wall and knocking back at him. I had hoped that this would convince the bird that there was already one of him on the inside so he had better back off. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. It didn’t work. The tapping stopped for a moment and then intensified. Apparently my plan had the reverse effect, instead of fearing the bird on the inside, he developed a crush on her. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. Does anyone have a recipe for bird pie? Or crispy bird with soy-ginger dipping sauce perhaps? Uh, maybe I’ll just stick with cod and get some earplugs. The bird has won this round, but I’m still cooking in spite of him and making great things. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap.
Crisp Cod with Soy-Ginger Dipping‑Sauce, (From Fine Cooking 56, pp. 82c)
1-1/2 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced (about 1/2-cup)
1-1/2 lb. cod fillet (or any other mild, firm white-fleshed fish), cut into four 6-oz. pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour for dredging
4 egg whites
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 small fresh red chilies (or 1 fresh jalapeño), cored, seeded, and minced
2 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbs. of the ginger, the soy sauce, vinegar, 2 Tbs. water, and about a quarter of the scallions. Set the dipping sauce aside.
Rinse the cod and pat dry it with paper towels. Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Put the egg whites in a medium bowl and whisk until a thick foam forms on the surface. To the egg whites, add the garlic, chiles, and the remaining ginger and scallions and mix well.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Dredge each piece of cod on both sides first in the flour and then in the egg whites, using your hands to press the scallions and chilies onto the fish. Transfer to a plate.
When the oil is hot (it will bubble if you put a scallion ring in it), add the cod, spacing the pieces evenly (you may have to cook them in two batches), and raise the heat to medium high. Turn the fish over after 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the fish is firm to the touch and flakes apart easily when pierced with a fork, about another 4 minutes. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce and the lime wedges on the side.
**Note: I started out making the suggested dipping sauce and then began adding my own touches, like cilantro and brown sugar and heating it up and… it wasn’t exactly the same to say the least.