Cod en Persillade
From Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
I figured I should probably post something this morning, on the off chance that I freeze to death this weekend. We’re hitting the road in a few hours for the Wisconsin vs. Indiana football game in Madison. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Madison…from about May – September. November on the other hand is pushing the envelope a bit. Especially for an outdoor event. And since it’s unlikely that my Hoosiers will be able to warm my heart with a win (the average score over the past 3 years was something like 72-16), it looks like I’m going to have to pack wisely.
So anyhow, in the event that I can’t type after getting hypothermia in my fingers, I leave you with this recipe from one of the greats, Thomas Keller. The funny thing is, this dish immediately reminded us of a Filet of Fish – yes, from the McRestaurant that Mr. Keller has probably never set foot in. But we meant that in a good way, since that’s one of our childhood favorites. And I’m sure in a side-by-side comparison this version would certainly win out. Light, flaky fish and a crunchy, salty crust – how can you go wrong? (Marrying someone from a freezing cold football powerhouse on the other hand…ugh).
- 2 lbs skinless cod top loin (top loin is the thick, dense part of the cod fillet – I simply asked the guy at the grocery store if he’d cut me off just that part, and much to my surprise he did – if yours won’t, try another white flaky fish that’s thicker throughout, such as halibut)
- 1/2 cup finely ground bread crumbs (we used frozen whole wheat bread crumbs from the freezer – I warmed them in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes, then pulsed them in a mini food processor to get them really fine)
- 2 tsp finely chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- canola or grape seed oil (we used grape seed)
- fleur de sel (or a less fancy, flaky sea salt)
- Remove the cod from the fridge and let stand for 15-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Check cod to make sure that all bones were removed. Cut into 8 pieces. Season the fillets on both sides with salt.
- Combine bread crumbs and parsley in a shallow bowl. Place mustard in a small bowl. Fill another bowl with a little water.
- Dip a brush into the water, then into the mustard, which will ensure that you have a thin layer of mustard. Spread mustard onto each piece of fish, on the side the skin used to be on. Dip the mustard side into the breadcrumb mixture and press down to coat evenly. Repeat with each piece of fish.
- Pour oil in an ovenproof frying pan that can hold all 8 pieces of cod without them touching – we used a cast iron skillet. Heat over medium high until oil begins to smoke, then turn down to medium.
- Place the fish in the pan, breadcrumb side down. Sear until crust is golden brown – about 1-2 minutes.
- Place pan in oven and cook, just until fish begins to flake when prodded with a fork, about 8-9 minutes.
- Arrange the fish on a platter and sprinkle with fleur de sel.