NO, THERE’S NO BBQ HERE…. NOT EVEN A TOUCH

August 24, 2015 – Hungry Uncle’s Kitchen

As we move into the final stretches of summer the bounty of the fields is really shining. Enjoy it while you can. Before you know it the leaves will be falling and then-don’t even get me started. Yeah I know, you winter-sport types love that time of year and even I have enjoyed snow shoeing, ice climbing and other adrenaline fueled endeavors but let’s be honest only the partially insane truly like being out in that frozen white crap. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…. but it’s so fresh and invigorating. Really, you look forward to having no circulation in your fingers, toes and other appendages?!? Listen, I’m not Dr. Phil and I’m NOT here to discuss your feelings………..now back to the subject at hand, poached cod with a Provencal inspired sauce and zucchini.

INGREDIENTS-Serves 2

For the cod-

  • About ¾. lb. of skinned, deboned cod cut into equal portions.
  • Black cod, aka Sablefish, is too strong and not appropriate for this dish.
  • 4 medium size sea scallops.
  • 1 quart  of chicken stock.
  • A shallow pan large enough to hold the fish covered by the stock without too much extra room. If you use too large a pan you’ll have add extra stock.

For the zucchini-

  • 2 medium-large zucchini sliced into ¼ inch discs.
  • A 4 quart pan filled about half-way with water.

For the sauce-

  • 1.5 cups of freshly, peeled and seeded tomatoes. If you can’t find fresh you can substitute canned.
  • 1 tsp. of sliced garlic.
  • ½ cup of scallions sliced into 1/8 – 1/4 inch rings
  • 2 tbsp. of minced flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme-fresh is preferable but wasn’t available at the time of this recipe. As general rule if you use fresh as opposed to dried, triple the amount (i.e. 1 tsp. of dried equals
  • 1 tbsp. or 3 tsp. of fresh)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil.
  • Smoked salt.
  • Sea salt.
  • Ground black pepper.
  • 1/3 cup of off-dry white wine. If that’s not available you can compensate by adding pinch of sugar when you add the wine.
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter.
  • A large bowl filled with ice water.
  • A medium frying pan.
  • A  3-4 quart pot filled half way with water.

COOKING

Sauce-

  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Cut shallow slits in the tomato skins starting at the bottom (non-stem side). Come up the tomato just an inch or two. You’re creating more or less an “x”.
  • Put the tomatoes in the boiling water.
  • Remove them with a slotted spoon after 25 seconds and put immediately into the ice water for about a minute to stop the cooking process. Remove the tomatoes and discard the ice water
  • It will now be very easy to peel the skin away.
  • After peeling, cut into quarters, remove the seeds with your fingers and chop into ¼ inch pieces.
  • Place the chopped tomatoes back in the bowl.
  • Slice the garlic and scallions and mince the parsley. Place each in a small bowl.
  • Measure out the thyme and basil and place in a small bowl.
  • Preheat your pan to medium and add the butter.
  • When the butter has melted add the garlic and cook just until it become fragrant- about two minutes. If the garlic starts to brown turn down the heat.
  • Add the tomatoes, turn up the heat until the mixture reaches a high simmer/low boil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes (tossing or stirring occasionally) or until the liquid has reduced by about 2/3rds.
  • Add the wine and dried herbs, cook for about 2-3 minutes ( again tossing or stirring).
  • Add the parsley and cook for about an additional two minutes (tossing or stirring).
  • Turn off the heat and season with the smoked salt and pepper.
  • Note- the sauce should still flow when moved around in the pan. You want some liquid but definitely not soupy.

Fish/scallops-

  • Take your fish and scallops out of the fridge for about 20 minutes before cooking. They will cook more evenly.
  • After adding the tomatoes to the sauce pour the stock into the pan and warm on medium-low heat. It should never come to a simmer or boil. You should be able to dip your finger without getting burnt.
  • After adding the dried herbs to the sauce, place the fillets into the warm broth. It should take no more than 3-4 minutes to poach. If the fillets are of uneven thickness, start the thicker ones first. If a fillet is too thick to be covered by the broth you will have to carefully turn it over half-way through cooking by using a spatula and your fingers. The fish is very delicate at this point and can fall apart if you’re not careful.
  • After about 2 minutes of cooking add the scallops.
  • When the fish just starts to flake it will be done. Using a slotted spatula carefully transfer the fillets to a warmed plate. The scallops should be done cooking around the same time. Don’t overcook them unless you want a large pencil eraser.

Zucchini-

  • You want your pot of water to be boiling around the time you add the fish to the stock.
  • Add the zucchini and boil for about 90 seconds. You can cook more or less depending on desired degree of doneness.
  • Drain through a colander.

Plating-

  • Place ¼ of the zucchini slices on a plate and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Top the zucchini with some of the sauce.
  • Place a piece of the cod on the zucchini and top with two scallops, season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Finish with some more sauce

NO, THERE’S NO BBQ HERE….NOT EVEN A TOUCH

Wasn’t that more enjoyable than listening to me rant about the winter. Until next time happy cooking and eating.