This is fish(ing) for a compliment

2 Mar

Ina Garten’s latest cookbook Modern Comfort Food (2020) is like all of her books, a culinary wonder filled with recipes I am anxious to try… like the Seared Salmon with Spicy Red Pepper and Waffle Iron Hash Browns. But as I paged through the book I remembered my friend Randee’s sterling endorsement for the book’s cod recipe. Truth be told, I love seafood and salmon but most other fish – unless it’s battered and fried – no thanks! But I’m supposed to be branching out and being open to new dishes on this blog (my self-imposed rules) so I settled on the cod recipe. Not only does it look stunning, it is unbelievably delicious. The topping is the corker – creating a yin and yang of flavors and textures – succulent melt-in-your-mouth flakey fish with a crunchy, savory coating. Note, cod is routinely on sale for $9.99 a pound – a bargain these days. The recipe may look complicated but it’s anything but. A must try! Even if you aren’t a fish fan!

Baked Cod With Garlic & Herb Ritz Crumbs

Good olive oil

4 center-cut boneless, skinless cod fillets (6–8 ounce each)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup Ritz cracker crumbs* (15 crackers)

⅓ cup panko (Japanese bread flakes)

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in 9″ x 9″ ceramic baking dish (it should be just big enough to hold fish) and tilt dish to coat bottom with oil.

Place fish fillets in dish and turn to coat both sides with oil. Sprinkle fish with 1½ teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper and bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine cracker crumbs, panko, parsley, garlic, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon salt. Add melted butter and stir until evenly moistened. Set aside.

Remove fish from oven and pour wine and lemon juice directly on fillets. Pat crumb mixture evenly onto fillets, pressing gently to help it adhere. (Don’t worry if some crumbs get into the sauce!) Return pan to oven for 12 minutes, until fillets are just cooked through in center, depending on thickness of fish. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with pan juices and lemon wedges.

*Pulverize the crackers in a food processor or place in a plastic bag and use a mallet or rolling pin to make crumbs.

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