We’re always curious to know what’s hiding in our favorite cook’s cabinets. What they reach for first, what they buy at the grocery store and what they feed their families. So here we go, we’re going to share with you what Melissa, our CEO and Resident Chef, loves, and perhaps doesn’t love.
What is your favorite pan for cooking?
I have a very well seasoned Lodge Cast Iron Pan that simply can’t be beat for even heat and high temperature cooking. But recently, right as we were about to shoot new content, I realized I probably should add to my cookware collection a bit. Perhaps something more trendy, so I bought the entire Caraway set in white. And I love it. My Lodge is still in rotation, but the Caraway pans are pulled out every day.
What is your go-to plate or platter for a more stylized plating? Or store, or brand of servingware?
I wish I could say it was some fancy brand, but reely it’s Target. Target makes it so easy to affordably buy trendy serve ware in new colors, patterns and plate shapes. We’re constantly photographing our plates, so it needs to look beautiful, beyond the seafood. The entire Fish Fixe team has now bought these because they photograph well, and who doesn’t love a shallow bowl?
What’s your favorite wine to pair with fish in the summer?
My husband and I entertain a lot, so we try to keep a versatile stock of wine in the house. I also don’t shy away from cooking with wine as it enhances the flavor of fish. My go-to’s are:
- Macon-Villages Burgundy Unoaked Chardonnay – light and floral with a bit of fruit
- A crisp Sauvignon Blanc – Emmolo or a more budget friendly Kim Crawford
- Mumm Sparkling Brut – I love bubbles and Mumm is well priced and dry which makes for the perfect Champagne Butter Sauce
- Oregon Pinot Noir – Four Graces
What’s your favorite new kitchen addition?
I’ve recently been on a tea-kick, and when my friend asked why I didn’t have a kettle (I think she was slightly appalled that I was heating my water for the tea in the microwave) I was dumbfounded. So that’s all the motivation I needed to pop onto Amazon and order this modern-style kettle that now sits beautifully on my counter.
What’s your go-to avocado oil brand?
There are a lot of great brands on the market for avocado oil, but my go-to is Chosen Foods. We prefer avocado oil over olive oil when cooking fish, because you can cook at a higher temperature before the oil starts to burn. When buying Avocado Oil make sure that it is a pure oil and not a blend.
What is something you could not live without in the kitchen?
First, my Microplane grater. I zest a lot of lemons and limes for seafood dishes and love a good parmesan shave on my salads. The chunky grip even allows my young kids to grate.
A REELY sharp chef’s knife. Fish Fixe sells an assortment of fish that still have the skin on, like our Norwegian Salmon and Farm Raised Grouper. Having a very sharp knife lets me slice off the skin (once it’s done cooking) without cutting into the filet.
A squeeze bottle for oil. It’s important to have control over the flow of oil, because a saturated piece of fish or salad is not appetizing. You want a dispenser that will drizzle, versus rush out. There are a couple cool olive oil companies that have recently packaged their oil in a squeeze bottle, but you can also simply buy one off Amazon or Target.
And finally, and maybe even most important, a second fridge! Since we eat out of our freezer most nights, we need a second source for freezing. My husband owns a wholesale seafood company so is always bringing home new species of fish for me to cook, and test for Fish Fixe.
What is your go-to weeknight meal?
The Harrington Household leans heavily towards the Mediterranean Diet so most nights are fresh roasted vegetables or a vegetable loaded salad with a simply seared Fish Fixe protein. I got my kids hooked on fish at a young age, so fortunately I don’t have to make multiple proteins to suit everyone’s tastes, yet I will add a starch and fruit for the kids and stick to the generic vegetable rotation – broccoli, edamame, green beans etc because my kids think salads are a stretch.
Last night we had a house favorite, Cobia over a fridge clean out style bowl. I used some leftover quinoa and tossed in some arugula and spinach then topped the grains and greens with air-fryer vegetables – beets, snow peas, brussel sprouts and finished with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Dinner doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy to be delicious.
What is your go-to weekend meal for a more special occasion, or more time to prepare?
We tend to slow down on the weekends and enjoy the process of cooking, hanging out with the kids and drinking a nice glass of wine. We’re in Texas so you can pretty much grill all year round, and be outside. Nothing is better than the sun setting, grill smoking and wine in my hand while my husband tends to the protein! We lean toward seafood and vegetable kabobs or take out the cedar plank to cook salmon with herbs and lemon, yet we do love a good steak from time to time!
What do you do for kitchen inspiration?
I’ve always loved to watch other people in the kitchen and feel like I’ve picked up so many ideas over the years like how a certain vegetable should be cut, or how to thicken a sauce or brighten up a soup. I also enjoy reading old cook books, recipe magazines and always asking the chef at a restaurant for the “how to” if he/she has prepared something I love. To me, cooking is my most endeared form of relaxation and is always an experimental art so most of my recipes start with what I have available in my fridge, freezer or pantry and they evolve from there.