My cousin thinks I’m certifiable. She just can’t fathom how I can toil away all day, trying to make the world a better place through advertising, and then get home at 8 o’clock at night and start chopping and dicing and roasting. I tell her that it’s stressful trying to sell people things they don't want. Cooking is relaxing.
But she got me thinking: how can I toil all day and then get home and start cooking? Advertising is stressful. I deserve someone at home, making dinner for me. The solution is clear: I need a manservant.
I'm not picky. I will accept either a Mr. French type or a scantily clad, well-oiled muscle man who can make a decent bearnaise. I prefer someone who will do light housework as well, including figuring out what to do with this box of wires, cables, and chargers from old electronics that I feel obliged to keep.
The pickings are pretty slim on Craigslist for manservants (menservant?) They're also on the meager side for butlers, house boys, valets, and serfs. But I am realizing other, more pressing issues with the MSP (manservant plan), the biggest one being that we live in 820 square feet. Nick and I like to spread out, so that doesn't leave a lot of space to keep a manservant. Plus, this manservant will probably want to be paid something and I'm not in a position to do that (Sigerson Morrison has the right of first refusal on my paycheck.)
So, it seems like the only way to get dinner on the table is to prepare it myself. No, I'm not trying to recreate some 1954 “perfect wife” fantasy. No, I'm not trying to re-enact that old Enjoli commercial. I'm just hungry. And if I'm making dinner, then it ain't gonna be the Manwich.
It will be something like the following recipe for fish glazed with a honey-soy mixture. Simple and truly delicious. I served it on a bed of sautéed sweet potatoes and Chinese cabbage (I love the sweet/salty mixture of the soy glaze with the sweet potatoes), but don’t feel like you have to get fancy. Unless your manservant is making it for you.
Perch with Honey-Soy Glaze
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
6 scallions, white and light green parts trimmed to 1” pieces.
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 6oz-8oz. fillets of perch or other firm fleshed, white fish
1. Whisk together honey, soy sauce, lime juice, and garlic in a small bowl.
2. Pat fish dry and sprinkle with a little salt. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot (but not smoking.) Add fish and cook on one side until browned, about 3-4 minutes (depending on weight of fillets.) Turn fish over and brown another minute. Add soy sauce mixture and simmer, covered, until fish is almost cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Remove fish and set aside.
3. Add scallion to sauce and boil, stirring occasionally, until glaze is thick and reduced, about 5 minutes. You should have about 1/4 cup of glaze. Perch the perch (oh, how I wanted to use that!) on your plates and drizzle with glaze.