Pan Roasted Cod & Vegetables Over Pasta

Have you ever seen an ad for one of those health spa getaways?  You know, where you go off to some gorgeous ranch in the middle of nowhere and 22 hours of your day are spent exercising & the remaining two hours meditating.  And of course all they give you after all that exercise is some boring, albeit healthy, ‘spa food’.  Who has ever thought such a trip actually qualifies as a ‘getaway’.

Don’t get me wrong, I eat healthy, do yoga and for the most try to keep my mind zen-like.   But if I am going to pay for an expensive vacation, give me some darn cupcakes & comfort food!

That said, when cooking in my own kitchen for any of my regular weeknight meals, sometimes keeping it light really is what I strive for and in this case, a healthy & light dish is exactly what I got.

Heck, if they put this dish in the ad, maybe I’d think about going.

Maybe.
8 oz. Cod filet (or other light, white fish)*
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp marjoram (or oregano)
Salt
Pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Splash of white wine (water or a little stock will do if there is no wine)
1/2 cup eggplant, cubed
Handful of green beans
1 cup penne pasta

Cook pasta according to directions.

In a bowl, place the cod and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add lemon zest, garlic, marjoram, pinch of salt and pepper.  Roll fish around so that it is fully coated.

Place 2 tsp olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat.  Once the olive oil is heated (about 1-2 minutes)  add the cod.  Cook 2 minutes and flip over.  Cook another 2 minutes before adding lemon juice and wine, scraping the bottom of the pan as it simmers.  Cook another minute before removing from the heat.

Season the green beans and eggplant lightly with salt and pepper.  Steam until the eggplant is tender and the green beans are still slightly crisp, about 10 -15 minutes (over low heat).

In the bottom of a bowl, place pasta, then vegetables and finally the fish on top.  Pour sauce over the dish.  Garnish with lemon zest and parsley.

* Serving in the photo is about 5oz.  I have special plans for the rest – stay tuned!

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Poached Fish with Pistou & Pommes Anna

Poached Fish w Pistou and Pommes Anna

People often ask me why I love to cook so much, what is it about being in the kitchen that keeps drawing me back in there.  Over the years I’ve come up with numerous explanations ranging from the emotional thrill I get from cooking to the more practical logic that I just love to eat.

Deep down though there is the fascination with creating something.  I don’t care what anyone else says, to me cooking is an art form and should be treated as such.   Of course I enjoy creating my works of art for others but most importantly, I do it for myself.

What I love about the dish below is how a few humble ingredients can, with a little love and attention, be transformed into the perfect French inspired meal.

I started with a beautiful fresh piece of fish, lemon sole to be exact.  Having an overflowing bounty of fresh basil thanks to all the rain this summer,  I decided the mild fish would be wonderful paired with a tangy pistou,  France’s version of pesto, full of fragrant garlic & basil.  And lastly, to continue with the French theme,  I rounded out the meal with Pommes Anna.  Simplicity at its finest,  I knew the crunchy crust of potatoes would lend the perfect contrast of textures to the poached fish.

Poached Fish with Pistou and Pommes Anna

Printable Version

For the Fish

1 lb. lemon sole (or other mild, white fish)
2 cups white wine (I used a bottle of Chardonnay that I had open already)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp  butter
Salt
Pepper

For the Pistou

1 1/2 cups basil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
Pepper

For the Pommes Anna

1/2 lb. waxy potatoes, sliced thinly (I used about 8 medium sized red bliss potatoes)
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
Salt
Pepper

Since it will take the longest in the oven, begin by making the Pommes Anna.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Brush the bottom and sides of a round baking dish with butter.  Begin to layer the potato slices in a circle, starting in the middle and working your way outward.  Once one layer is complete, brush the top with more butter and season with salt and pepper.  Repeat with remaining potato slices, brushing butter and seasoning after every layer.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven.  After half hour, remove aluminum foil and continue to bake uncovered for an additional 30-45 minutes.

While the Pommes Anna is baking, prepare the pistou.  Place basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.  Pulse to blend on low speed a few times or until all of the ingredients are combined.  Set aside.

About 10 minutes before the Pommes Anna is done (it should be crispy on top) place fish in shallow baking dish.  Pour white wine and lemon juice over fish and then season with salt and pepper (fish should not be completely covered).  Place in oven and cook about 10 minutes or until fish is just firm and flaky.

Slice Pommes Anna in wedges and serve with fish and pistou.

Bon Appétit!