For a change, I’ll be giving a cider review alongside my beer reviews. I enjoy cider as an eminently quaffable, uncomplicated, and refreshing beverage. It also features as part of my favorite seafood recipe, which I gleaned from Mark Bittman’s magnum opus. The Best Recipes in the World. So, let me start by giving you that recipe.
Cider Poached Red Snapper/Cod
Salt and Pepper to taste
Half a Stick of Unsalted Butter
2lbs of Cod/Red Snapper Fillet
1 Large Onion, diced
Plenty of Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
Enough Cider to cover the fish (have at least two bottles handy, one may suffice)
(How do you like my precise measurements? 🙂 )
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Melt half a stick of butter on a sauteing pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. After two or three minutes–at the time when the onions begin to soften, add the sliced mushrooms. Continue sauteing until most of the water has left the mushrooms–about ten minutes. They should be nice and brown. Though I must caution you that my times are as approximate as my measurements, so be sure to keep an eye on that stuff and to occasionally stir it.
3. Layer the onions and mushrooms on a deep, oven-safe and stove-safe pan. (Use whatever you think will do the trick.) Place fillets on the bed of onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then pour enough cider to just cover the fillets, bring it to a boil without touching that pan bare handed.
(Now, dear readers, I really must caution you about this recipe. After this point, it contains numerous opportunities for you to get burned between now and the end. If you fear being burned through absentmindedness, put some mitts on now and don’t take them off until ten minutes after the fish are cooked!)
4. Once the pan has been brought to a boil, with those mitts on carefully cover the pan with foil before transferring it to the oven. (I remember being burned at this point.) The fish will be ready in 12 to 15 minutes, but it may take up to twenty. Anyway, when a thin bladed knife easily passes through the fish, it’s done. Enjoy, but be careful while handling that hot pan!
Since the number of beers is a little high and my memory of them somewhat hazy–due to the amount of time which has passed since I imbibed them of course, these reviews will be very brief followed by a note as to whether it is highly recommended, recommended, or not recommended. The lack of such a notation denotes that the beer was rather average.
1. Goose Island Père Jacques
Not the best dubbel I’ve had. Nice green raison and brown sugar flavors.
2. Angry Orchard Traditional Cider
Compares very favorably with other ciders I’ve enjoyed. Nice and dry without desiccating one’s palate. An imported cider from Crispin has been my favorite so far in this class, followed by Doc’s Draft, the regular Crispin cider, and Angry Orchard in that order. Recommended.
3. Sly Fox IPA
A beautifully balanced IPA, very much in the English style, i.e. a restrained hoppiness compared to exuberantly hoppy American-style IPAs. Very drinkable with flavors of tea, pineapple, and red fruit. Highly recommended.
4. Geary’s IPA
Similar in style to the Sly Fox IPA, but less flavorful. Still a nice example of the style.
5. Yards IPA
This Philadelphia brewery makes excellent English style beer, and their IPA is no exception. Similar to the Sly Fox, but lacks the pronounced tea flavor. Better than Geary’s but inferior to Sly Fox. Recommended.
6. Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout
A nice imperial stout. Less complex than other versions, but still pretty good. Flavors of espresso and nuts. Recommended.
7. Tripel Karmeliet
A beautiful tripel, which makes me wonder why it took me so long to try it. Flavors of banana, clove, and apricot sing on the palate. Well integrated and refreshing. Highly recommended.
8. River Horse’s Tripel Horse
A New Jersey brewery far inferior to Flying Fish Brewery. A very bad beer despite some glowing reviews I read. Banana, apple vinegar, astringent, and alcoholic. Not recommended.