Pet King - Chapter 56
Chapter 56: Baking a Fish
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The tilapia Wang Qian bought was still half frozen. The fish had already been cleaned by removing the head, tail, scale, bones and guts. The fish was sashimi-grade, so it could be consumed raw if chosen to. This was exactly what Zhang Zian asked for.
The fish smelled fresh. The texture of the flesh was clear and delicate. The meat seemed very flexible when pressed down. It was fatty and tender. The thickest part was about as thick as a finger. He must have experience picking out fish. This kid was rather reliable, although he was sometimes silly.
Zhang Zian half-closed the door. If someone entered, the cat bell would ring.
He took the fish to the kitchen upstairs. Fina followed him closely. She could not take her eyes off the shopping bag. She looked as if her mouth was watering, but when Zhang Zian looked at her, she immediately switched back to a calm face. Haixing also followed purely out of curiosity. Zhang Zian put the shopping bag on the counter. Fina jumped up immediately. Her body had an infinite power;however, she used it very carefully without any waste.
The kitchen still looked the same.
Zhang Zian had little experience in the kitchen. His mother was always busy here with her apron on. He always heard the concerto of pots and pans and smelled the scents of various sauces from the kitchen.
Hunger breeds discontent. The most important place of life in a family is undoubtedly the kitchen.
Now, the kitchen was empty.
Mother's apron was hanging behind the door. The original color had been washed away. Only a faint pattern of bears was still noticeable.
The crooked stitches reminded him that this apron was made in crafting class when he was in elementary school. He gave it to his mom as a Mother's Day gift.
It had been over 20 years, and Mother was still using it.
Zhang Zian put on the apron and felt as if his mother was around. It felt like she was holding his hand.
’’Well, let's cook!’’ He tried to cheer himself up.
Zhang Zian knew the only way to make sure his parents rested in peace was to live a fulfilling life.
Baking fish was relatively simple. There were many cooking apps online to show novice cooks how it was done. So, he downloaded one.
The tilapia was wide. He cut the fish from the middle, and followed the tutorial on the app using scallion, ginger, wine and soy sauce for marinating. He replaced salt with soy sauce.
He rinsed off the rice while he was waiting for the marination. Then, he used a rice cooker to cook rice.
Fina was curious about the various spices. She was sniffing them with her beard almost sticking to the spices.
Zhang Zian suddenly came up with a mischievous idea. How about having her sniff the black pepper? However, he decided not to risk his life.
’’What kind of spices did you have in your fish?’’ he asked.
Fina shook his head, ’’Fish is fish. They were baked on a dish containing palm leaves underneath and then topped with chopped olives and Persian dates.’’
Damn! What a way to enjoy fish!
Now he had a rough idea where Fina used to live. It must have been close to the sea. She could get fresh Tilapia. There were olive trees and palm trees. It was also not far from Persia.
When the rice cooker began, he placed the marinated tilapia on a rack in the oven. Then he put another pan under the rack to catch any oil that may drip onto the oven.
When he opened the oven, Galaxy made a ’’meow woo’’ sound and was so scared, she rushed out of the kitchen. She was trembling to stick out her head and said, ’’Galaxy hates black boxes ...’’
’’It is not a black box. See? There is a light inside,’’ Zhang Zian turned on the oven and the built-in light. The whole oven was lit up.
Galaxy walked back to the kitchen with her body against the wall. She still did not want to get close to the oven.
The oven started buzzing and operating. Wiggling her tail, Fina was sticking out her head and neck. She had been observing very cautiously.
’’I could not feel the heat,’’ she commented.
’’Of course. This is so much better than a stone.’’ For the first time Zhang Zian took pride in the modern technology. Finally, there was a chance to brag about what he knew in front of her!
’’You didn't build it! Why are you so proud?’’ Fina immediately put on a contemptuous face.
Damn it! She was always sharp!
Although embarrassed, Zhang Zian still wanted to defend himself, ’’How did you know I didn't build it?’’
’’The way you looked at the scale was so unwise. If you built the oven, you wouldn't have to study it before you used it.’’ She simply turned away.
Well, I could not be mad at a cat! Zhang Zian secretly comforted himself and then pretended to pay serious attention to the oven.
This was his first time baking. He'd better make sure the fish didn't burn. Otherwise, he would lose more face in front of this cat, a gold digger.
Whatever it was in the oven, the mastery of temperature was most important, especially for fish and meat. The variance could be huge based on the cut.
After some time, the fish began to change color. Golden oil dripped from the most tender part and fell into the bottom pan.
Even though the oven door was closed, the aroma was gradually flowing out. Zhang Zian's stomach was growling.
He turned off the oven, put on some thick gloves, and warned Fina, ’’Do not touch. It is very hot.’’
He took out the half-way cooked fish, dipped it into the marinating sauce making sure to cover the top and bottom and then put it back into the oven.
Fina's eyes did not leave the fish. She kept licking her lips, raising her forepaws and then lowering them. She would've jumped up to the fish if she wasn't being restrained.
This was a critical time. Zhang Zian would rather turn down the temperature than burn the fish.
He immediately turned off the oven when he saw just a bit of a burn mark on the edge of the fish.
He removed the fish from the oven. He was happy that it smelled fine and not burnt.
It was time to plate it. It would be even better if he had some cilantro, celery, broccoli or lemon for the plate. Unfortunately, he hadn't been grocery shopping since his return to Binhai City.
The rice was ready. Beautiful hot steam came up as he opened the lid.
Zhang Zian served himself a bowl of rice. As he turned around, Fina had already dug in. Man, where had her elegance and royal characteristics gone?
Fina licked the fish, but her tongue was burned. She stepped back immediately.
Cats have very sensitive tongues. That's why some people are described as having ’’a cat's tongue’’ when they are unable to eat hot food.
’’Let me cut it into small pieces. Eat when it cools down!’’ His warning came too late. Fina gave him an livid look.
He cut the fish for Fina into small pieces just as big as the nail on a pinky finger. Cutting it small would help cool down the fish and the pieces would fit Fina's mouth perfectly.
When two servings of baked fish and one bowl of rice was put on the table, Fina jumped to the table directly from the counter.
Galaxy was running around on the second floor. She might be practicing for the hide-and-seek game later. Honestly, she didn't need it. She would definitely beat Zhang Zian nevertheless.
’’Looks good now. Please enjoy,’’ he said as he picked up the chopsticks.