I know I haven't blogged in a while. It's been about a month actually but I've had a few things happen that required my time and attention to resolve. While things are still not back to normal just yet I wanted to get back to my "food blog" and spend some time doing something I greatly enjoy.
This past Sunday, I had my sister over for lunch. We both love fish, but were never good at preparing it and have often been disappointed by the fish dishes we've ordered in restaurants. My usual recipe has always been to soak a thick cut of cod filet known as a "Captains Cut" in fresh lemon juice for 15 minutes, pat dry, lightly coat with seasoned bread crumbs, top with a few pieces of chilled butter and put it under the broiler for 12 to 16 minutes. This has been a favorite with my family for a number of years now and my sister has confessed that she often serves this when special guests come to her house for dinner.
I was going to make it again but I was inspired by a scene from the movie Julie and Julia so I decided to try making a beurre blanc sauce to sever over pan seared cod. Beurre blanc is sauce made from a reduction of white wine, white wine vinegar and shallots to which you add two sticks of butter while continuously whisking it over a very low heat. The sauce is a little time consuming and needs to be served right away so it's best that you have everything else ready to go on to the plate before you start adding the butter to the sauce.
First I created a marinade for the two thick pieces of cod that consisted of the juice of one large lemon, four tablespoons light olive oil and one teaspoon of minced garlic. I put the fish in a large plastic Ziploc bag, poured the marinade over it and put it in the fridge to sit for a while.
I decided to serve the fish with mashed potatoes and some roasted asparagus spears. I prepared the mashed potatoes and put them in a casserole dish which I kept in the oven on a very low heat. If the heat in the oven is too high the potatoes will continue to cook and you will be left with a glutinous mass on your hands. Asparagus doesn't take very long to cook nor requires a high heat so I wrapped the spears in tin foil drizzled a touch of light olive oil on top and just a squirt of lemon then put them in the oven with the potatoes.
Now was the time to remove the cod from the marinade and pat it dry. I very lightly coated a shallow frying pan with vegetable oil and brought it to medium high heat. When the fish was put into the pan it immediately seared a nice golden crust on one side. I gave it two minutes on one side before very gently flipping it over. After two more minutes I covered the pan and removed it from the heat. The next steps have to be done quickly.
To make the beurre blanc I chopped up 2 tablespoons of shallots and put them in a sauce pot with 1 cup of dry white wine and 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar. I let this boil down or reduce until most of the liquid was gone. Lowering the heat to a simmer I slowly began adding in the 2 sticks of butter which I had cut in to small pieces earlier. It is important that the butter be cold when you add it to the sauce or it may not emulsify properly. Adding a few pieces at a time you must whisk the sauce continuously until all the butter has been added and the sauce is a smooth creamy yellow. Do not let the sauce boil! When the sauce is done you can, if you wish it perfectly smooth, strain the shallots out using a mesh sieve.
With the sauce done all I had to do was put the cod on plates, add a side of the still warm mashed potatoes and the now crisp/tender asparagus and drizzle with the creamy tangy beurre blanc, which by the way I did choose to strain.
This meal was a huge hit. If you choose to try it please let me know how it turns out for you!