Thursday, August 26, 2010

Taking A Second Crack At Cod

Good evening everyone! It's Thursday once again, which marks my return to the kitchen. As Maggie mentioned last night, our wedding date is quickly approaching. As such, we've been making an effort to keep our recipes a little simpler and streamlined. We're doing this mainly because we don't want a lot of leftovers to deal with or perishable ingredients left behind while we're away. So, we're trying to make recipes that are either a) simple and will not result in a lot of leftovers or b) that use ingredients we already have.

My recipe tonight falls into the second category. Tonight's recipe, super crispy oven fried fish, can almost be made without stopping by the grocery store. With the exception of cod (which I doubt everyone just has sitting in their freezer - save for you diehard fisherman types out there) everything in tonight's recipe is probably resting in your pantry or refrigerator. The best part is, despite the ease of preparation, this is far from a simple tasting dish. Let's get cooking!

The Recipe: Super Crispy Oven Fried Cod
Original Recipe Found In: The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

What You'll Need:

4 Slices High Quality Sandwich Bread (Torn into quarters)
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Melted)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley Leaves (2 Teaspoons Dried)
1 Small Shallot (Minced)
1/4 Cup All Purpose Unbleached Flour - Plus Additional 5 Tablespoons
2 Large Eggs
3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne
1 1/4 Pounds Cod, Haddock or Other Whitefish Fillets

Sweet & Tangy Tartar Sauce*

1/4 Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Pickle Relish
1 Small Shallot (Minced)
1 1/2 Teaspoons White Wine Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Mix all tartar sauce ingredients together in a bowl and let set in the refrigerator (covered) for at least 15 minutes prior to serving.

Tartar sauce 

The tartar sauce recipe is a blend of two recipes, one from the chefs at America's Test Kitchen, the other a homemade creation that I've played with constantly. You are free to make up your own tartar sauce in whatever way you prefer, however, if you don't have a recipe for tartar sauce, I would recommend my hybrid recipe listed above.

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Place your bread, melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper into a food processor and pulse until everything is coarsely ground. This takes about 15 to 20 seconds, or if your food processor measures by the 'pulse' 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer this mixture to a rimmed baking sheet, making sure to spread the breading evenly across the surface of the sheet, and bake until golden brown. This should take about 15 minutes. Every 5 minutes or so, be sure to stir up the bread crumbs - this allows all of the crumbs to bake evenly.

Once golden brown, transfer the crumbs to a large plate and increase your oven temperature to 425 degrees. On a second plate, pour 1/4 cup of your flour. On a third plate (or in a large bowl) whisk the eggs, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix in an additional 5 tablespoons of all purpose flour and stir until smooth. Typically with breaded dishes, the egg is used as a 'wash' something to moisten the piece of meat up and allow the crumbs to adhere. In this situation, adding 5 tablespoons of flour makes the egg anything but a wash - and instead makes more of a batter. This makes things very sticky when you start your breading. Be sure to be prepared for a little messier breading procedure than usual.

The batter - it's a little sticky

Place a wire baking rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. (Much like we did during our fried chicken recipe from last week.) Dry your fish fillets with paper towels (As I established in my pan fried curry cod recipe - any moisture whatsoever will ruin any attempt at creating a nice breading! Even though we were prepared this time, we still had to defrost the cod. It was frozen solid even after a full day of thawing. This time, however, we dried the cod VERY WELL. Fool me once...) and season them with salt and black pepper.

Arrange your 3 plates in an assembly line. Flour plate first, followed by the bowl/plate with egg mixture and finally the plate with the bread crumbs. Begin breading your fillets by first dredging the fish in flour, making sure to shake off any excess flour. Next, coat the fillet with the egg mixture. Finally, roll the fillet in the breading, making sure to cover all sides with a generous helping of breading. Transfer your finished fillet to the wire rack and repeat the process until all of the fillets are complete.

Fish assembly line

Up close and personal with the breading

Place the baking tray into the oven and allow to cook for 18 to 25 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 140 degrees. Once you've reached that golden temperature, transfer the fillets to a plate, serve up with some homemade tartar sauce (optional) and enjoy!

Ready to go into the oven

The Result:




Now, ladies and gentlemen - I've had some good fish in my day. The Colony Inn in Ventura Iowa has some of the best fish that comes to mind. But tonight, I ate the best fish I have ever tasted in my entire life.

Multiple complex flavors burst through the breading and the fish itself. The blending of the shallot, paprika, cayenne and parsley created a super team of amazing flavors. The breading was excellent. It was super crispy and did not fall off at all (a first for me in any breading recipe!). The crispy crust was a great contrast to the super soft and flaky cod. Tonight's dish was a stark contrast to my original shot at cod.

At 35 minutes of total preparation time - tonight's recipe is the perfect blending of easy preparation and amazing flavors. Even better, 90% of the ingredients are already in your pantry. With a recipe this easy (and this delicious) there is absolutely no excuse not to try it for yourself!

Before we go tonight, I'd like to mention our official Facebook page. Simply search Out Of The Culinary on Facebook and you should find our page. Click the big 'Like' button on top and you'll instantly be inducted into an exclusive club  - you'll get notifications via your news feed of our blog updates, see pictures we don't share on the blog - among many other great perks! We're slowly going to stop posting updates via our individual Facebook profiles, so if you want to stay up to date with everything Out Of The Culinary - this is the only way to do so. (We've also posted a nice button on the right hand side of the blog - it has our logo inside the Facebook box - click that and you should be directed straight to our page.)

That's all we have for you this week. Maggie and I have another busy weekend on tap, so we won't be blogging again until Monday. Thank you, as always, for sharing our recipes with us this week. Be sure to stop by Monday evening to see our ingredient list for the coming week. Also, be sure to 'Like' Out Of The Culinary on Facebook! Until next time,


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