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Coming Home: Panko Crusted Pollock


July 3, 2012

It is hard to describe the town I grew up in if you’ve never been here, or if you grew up in a city, or if you’ve never had the experience of everyone knowing your name…of everyone knowing your everything if we’re being honest.

As such, I’ll tell you a tale of a little town called Ipswich, if it pleases you. For this is where I am from.

The other day my wonderful Mama had trotted off to the town library. Why you ask? Well, because she needed to use their internet. For you see, in the home I grew up in there is no high-speed, no call waiting, no microwave. So off she goes to the library when she must “get online.” While trolling through her Earthlink inbox (yes, Earthlink…did you even know they still existed?), she saw a recent post about Vegetarian Carbonara I’d done (for she too is doing a CSA from Appleton Farms, so must battle weekly in the ever ongoing attempt to not let any of your organic groceries go to waste).  Not owning an iPhone or an iPad, she needed to print it out so she could make it at her leisure.

Walking the fields at Appleton Farms.

All the beautiful options available this week.

Now my mother is many incredible things, smart, funny, beautiful, gracious, caring, but she is not particularly tech savvy. And so, on the homepage of my blog she hit PRINT…and print it did. All 45+ pages of the past 10 recipes on my homepage. Realizing her error (at 20 cents per page to print at the library this was no small drama) she quickly tried to cancel the printing, calling over the librarians in droves. They leaned over the computer, they fluttered nervously about, and all together they accidentally hit print another 5 times, resulting in no less than 200 pages of Shut Up & Cook goodness spewing out of the library printer.

My mother, being an honorable woman, walked up to pay (Ipswich employing the honor system, bien sur), and upon telling the nice librarian what happened she replied, “Oh, you don’t have to pay for the extra copies…here, give them to me…I’ll just recycle them.” Passing them to her, all 200 pages were about to go into the recycling when something caught her eye.

Smoked Salmon Quiche? This looks dynamite!” she exclaimed in her Boston accent that you must hear to understand.

“Kitty, come over here…didn’t you say you were trying to figure out what to do with all those tomatoes? This here thing has a recipe for Baked Tomatoes!”  (Yes, people in this town are named Kitty, and Muffin, and Wilma…and no one thinks it’s strange).

Within moments a gaggle of women had gathered and were dividing up and passing out the recipes, each knowing exactly what the other needed and thumping my mother on the back for how proud she must be to have, “A daughter who can cook?? I wish my Perry would cook…she never cooks!”

Don’t even think about getting greedy with the carrots…Muffin, and Kitty, and Wilma will kick your butt.

Home for a week, and loving every minute of it, I am reminded of where I’m from and how it has so affected who I am. Friday supper was made from fresh pollock a local fisherman had caught, and beautiful vegetables picked from Appleton Farm’s own fields.

It was simple. It was perfect. It was just like home.

Panko Crusted Pollock
Serves 4

Panko Crusted Pollock, served with Caesar Salad, and Summer Snap Peas

1 lb, Pollock Fillet, de-boned and rinsed, and cut into 4 oz fillets

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup flour, plus shake or two of salt and pepper

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup dill, finely chopped

  1. Preheat Oven to 385.
  2. In three separate bowls put the flour, egg, and panko.  Add the herbs to the panko bowl and mix well.
  3. First dredge the fillets in the flour mixture, then in the egg, and then in the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Set into a glass baking dish.
  5. Bake until firm, yet flaky, about 10-15 minutes.


  1. Per usual, I love the storytelling AND the recipe!

    • Erina says:

      You are so sweet…thank you! If ever you get to the East Coast I highly recommend a trip to Ipswich. It’s a very special place.

    • Pam Lane Schooley says:

      Erina, I absolutely love this post and, not kidding, laughed out loud!! Thanks, we all love Ipswich!!

      • Erina says:

        Pam, I so love that you read and enjoyed this….it takes a true Ipswich-ite to appreciate this tale I think, so I’m so happy that you did! It’s a wonderful town you ladies raised us in…we’re oh so lucky, to be sure.

  2. emmycooks says:

    Isn’t it nice to go home sometimes? I love the local library story. And yes, I will totally make you chocolate waffles on your birthday!

    • Erina says:

      It’s the best to go home…sometimes the city isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Although today we tried to find tahini for this delicious chicken salad I make, and the little town grocery store didn’t have it! #GrassIsAlwaysGreener

  3. Love that story! I didn’t realize you were from Ipswich – so north. My old college roommate was from Keene, NH and they had a summer house along the coast near there. Bring back some sun, East Coast stuff (I don’t even care at this point what it is lol), fresh Pollack and sweet library ladies. ;p

    • Erina says:

      Yes, I’m a Northshore gal, through and through. I”ll be happy to bring back the sun, the cider donuts, the beaches, and the slight snobbery and elitism!

  4. Maman says:

    Just like to set the record straight… wasn’t exactly 200 pages of spewing yumminess, I’m not that bad! But we did enjoy the bounty of the snafoo
    here in heavenly Ipswich-town. Thanks to Shut Up and Cook, those
    CSA veggies are getting the attention they deserve.

    • Erina says:

      200 pages….150 pages….are great story no matter what! Thanks for your shameless promotion of my blog…perhaps you should start accidentally printing all over the Northshore. We could be onto something here!

  5. Hannah says:

    I love this story, Erina! I paused to giggle and tell my husband about the library adventures. Ipswich is a marvelous town – I spent a lot of time on the Northshore beaches while growing up. It sounds like you are having a terrific visit, and eating very well! Your pollock recipe sounds delicious. My mom made lots of pollock and I haven’t had it in years – I’ll be making this soon. Happy July 4th!

  6. Des says:

    Just wanted to say I love your writing! Lovely story and lovely recipe 🙂

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