Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I believe in cod

A chef at a fine restaurant once said, "My customers are always asking for a firm, white fish without an assertive taste. I give them exactly that, and they never order it!" The fish he was talking about is cod.

Blame it on the Filet O'Fish sandwich, or soggy fish'n'chips, but cod gets no respect. Yet it is a nutrition powerhouse: Cod has almost the same amount of protein as sockeye salmon with half the calories.

And because it's a mild fish, you can spice it up just the way you like.

Here is a dinner I fixed last night. The prep took a little more than 15 minutes, since I grated the potatoes by hand, but the cooking took a little less than that.

Prosciutto-wrapped Cod with Artichokes and Hash Browns
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 white or red potatoes (not russets)
Salt and pepper
12 ounces cod
6 slices prosciutto or other strips of semi-dry ham
Olive oil
4 small spring onions, sliced
Handful of parsley leaves, snipped
1 cup of marinated artichoke hearts, rinsed of oil and chilled

Instructions
Grate the potatoes into a bowl of water. Drain, put on a clean dishtowel, and squeeze all the water out of them. They must be very dry. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry the cod, and cut it into 6 strips, 4-6 inches in length. Season with salt and pepper and wrap each strip with a slice of prosciutto.

Lightly oil a sturdy pan that will hold the cod. Put about a tablespoon of oil in a large cast-iron frying pan and heat to medium.

When the oil starts to smoke, put the grated potatoes into the frying pan and spread them out thinly. Sprinkle with the onions and parsley. Fry undisturbed for about 10 minutes so they form a golden crust. Flip and cook 5 minutes more.

After you put the potatoes in the frying pan, put the pan of cod into the oven. Bake for 14-15 minutes until the fish turns opaquely white.

Serve with the chilled artichoke hearts.

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