- 4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 1 small red onion or 4 scallions, chopped
- About 2 pounds winter squash, sweet potatoes, daikon, turnips, or celery root, trimmed, peeled, and grated
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger or garlic
- 1 tablespoon Fragrant or Hot Curry Powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- About ¼ cup each of cornmeal and flour, for dredging
- About 12 ounces (¾ pound) cod or catfish fillet, cut into 4 pieces
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, or cilantro leaves
- Lemon, lime, or orange wedges (optional)
Even the hardest vegetables—winter squash, root vegetables, and potatoes—cook relatively quickly and retain a lovely crunch if you grate them first. Pair them with lightly breaded, pan-crisped fish, and you have a colorful, fresh-tasting, and fast one-dish meal. If you want to use zucchini or other summer squash, that’s fine, too; just grate it as directed and squeeze it dry in a clean towel before cooking. And you can also make this dish with whole peas or snap peas, sliced asparagus, or ribbons of cabbage or greens.
- Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add half the onion or scallions and the vegetables. Add the ginger or garlic and the curry powder, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, and adding a little more oil if the mixture is sticking, until the onion has caramelized and the potatoes are lightly browned, about 10 minutes; the vegetables need not be fully tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and transfer to a large serving platter or divide among individual plates.
- While the vegetables are cooking, combine the cornmeal and flour on a plate along with some salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal mixture, pressing to make some of it stick then shaking to remove the excess.
- Return the skillet to high heat; don’t bother to wipe it out. Add the remaining oil. When it’s hot, add the fish to the pan and cook, turning only once, until nicely browned on both sides and cooked through—a thin-bladed knife will meet little or no resistance when fish is done. Put the fish on top of the vegetables; garnish with the remaining onion or scallion and parsley or cilantro. Serve with citrus wedges if you like.