BLACKENED SOLE WITH NOODLES
Usually I blacken catfish, but fillet of sole was on sale. Why not try it with that pack of Ramen I picked up on a whim? And of course, toppings.
I soaked the fillet of sole for about an hour in a marinade of one take-out packet of soy sauce and an equal amount of juice from my jar of pickled jalapeños.
While that sat, I ground a pile of black pepper onto a plate, and added an even bigger pile of chili powder, then stirred that together.
Also, I got my pans ready, because the fish and Ramen will cook super fast, and that’s no time to be fumbling with pans. I put water in a small sauce pan for the noodles, and olive oil in the frying pan for the fish. Don’t skimp on the oil; it keeps the fish from sticking to the pan.
When I was ready for the fish, I got the water boiling, and heated the oil in the frying pan to medium heat. “Blackening” can turn into “burning” very quickly, so it’s best to not be too aggressive with the heat.
I put the fish one piece at a time onto the blackening mixture and gently but thoroughly coated each side, then set the fish in the hot oil. This is no time to dawdle, because fillet of sole is a delicate cut of fish, and it only takes a couple minutes on each side to cook all the way through.
The water was boiling, so I dropped in a whole pack of Ramen. The noodles finished at almost the same time as the fish. I drained most of the water and added ½ to ¾ of the flavor packet. (I wasn’t making broth like the Ramen instructions say to, so adding the whole packet to mostly dry noodles would make them way too salty.) Stirring in the seasoning was easy because the noodles were still wet and steamy.
Spread the noodles on the plate, and set the fish on top. I heated nacho cheese sauce and sprinkled on diced jalapeños, with a light drizzle of red hot sauce. (The pile of green stuff in the photo is quinoa pesto I was taste-testing. It’s good on its own but totally wrong for this dish.)
I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by this inexpensive concoction, but it was all kinds of awesome. More sensitive palates could dial back the saltiness and spiciness by using less of the flavor packet and not garnishing with jalapeños. The Ramen was perfect for this, but you could make a deluxe version with angel hair or fettuccine pasta. This dish could probably feed two if it included a side.