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Dark Days Challenge Week 5: Fish and Pickled Asparagus

There are two ingredients that I’ve been meaning to use more of.

Thing #1 = jars of food in the basement. Before the 2011 canning season started, I promised myself (and Erik) that I would do a better job of preserving useful things than I did last year. Those fancy jams just call to me, but two responsible adults can only eat or give away so much. So, I did that. But now we have to use it all.

Spicy pickled asparagus

Thing #2 = fish. We have great access to locally-caught seafood, but for some reason, I rarely include it in our weekly meal plan. I think part of it is because getting fish from the market in the heat of summer kind of grosses me out. I’m sure it’s fine, because it’s on piles and piles of ice, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. Then I forget about it when cooler weather rolls around.

This was the week to knock out both goals. Well, actually, last week was the week to do that. Sorry…we’ve been busy. This is barely a recipe, so go crazy. If you don’t have spicy pickled asparagus, use dilly beans, fresh beans/asparagus, or tomatoes. Maybe even pickled beets. Add in some olives or herbs. Use a different type of white-fleshed fish or even shrimp. Just dig around in the refrigerator or stash of jars and use what you find.

Baked cod, pickled asparagus, and wheatberries

We ate this on a pile of wheatberries from Cayuga Pure Organics to soak up the juices. Very satisfying for very little work!

Fish and Spicy Pickled Asparagus Packets

Serves 2

Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
1 fillet Cod 11 to 12 ounces Jordan Brothers Seafood
1 TBsp Sunflower oil Stolor Organics
2 big cloves Garlic Sliced or chopped Keith’s Farm
1 pint Spicy pickled asparagus Or whatever quick-cooking veggies you have Home-canned


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut two long pieces of foil (about 2 arm-lengths each). Fold each in half, so that you have two shorter pieces. Lay one on your counter and pour about half the sunflower oil (1 1/2 teaspoons) in the middle.
  3. Cut the fish into two roughly equal halves. Put one half on the foil and flip it over to coat both sides in the sunflower oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and half of the garlic.
  4. If you’re using pickled vegetables, drain off the brine. Cut the vegetables into small pieces – about the size of your pinky finger. Toss them on top of the fish.
  5. Gather the long sides of the foil up to the middle and crimp them. Roll up the short sides tightly. You want to trap steam, but not smother the poor fish, so try to keep some space around the fish itself.

    All wrapped up

  6. Put the packet on a baking sheet and repeat with the other piece of fish.
  7. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches 145 degrees and is flaky and opaque. If you’re using thin fillets, start checking after about 10 minutes; thicker ones might need 20.

    Unwrapping the foil package

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