Baked Cod with Panko Crust & Pommes Boulangere

While I don’t do all my food shopping there, the new Big Y Supermarket nearby has a few items and specials that draw me to them.  For one, a 10% discount on everything every Tuesday for seniors age 60+.  Dodging the slow-moving authentic seniors (because everyone I see looks way older than me, even if they’re not), and not taking offense that they don’t card me for proof of eligibility, I head straight for the canned fish aisle to stock up on my favorite Genova Tuna in Olive Oil, $1.79/can, but on Tuesday – $1.61!  Other bargan items beckon – the party size reduced fat Cape Cod Chips for $3.99 (ergo $3.59), and so on.  Also, fresh fish brought in 6 days a week.

So, the big draw today was their XL Captain’s Cut Cod – thick, enormous filets from fish I’d thought no longer inhabiting the Atlantic fishing grounds.  $10.99/lb.  Applying not only the 10% senior discount, but also redeeming a silly Gold Coin thing the store has going (special discounts on certain items once you’ve spent X amount at the store), I was able to purchase a cut-to-order 1.2 lb. filet of cod for another 33% discount, so $7.95.

I have a favorite recipe for cod baked with a panko crumb crust, imbued with sauteed shallot, herbs, and lemon zest, laid over the fish after brushing with a Dijon/mayo combination.  But nostalgia hit me for a dish I’d made years ago, a cod fish boulangere, surrounded by thinly sliced potatoes and onions.  Not wanting undercook the potatoes nor overcook my precious giant fish filet, I decided to do them separately.  And for that, I pulled out, from the bottom shelf of my kitchen bookcase, Jacque Pepin’s “Simple and Healthy Cooking”, with his low-fat version of Pommes Boulangere, which are baking in my countertop convection oven as I write this.  This is a dish low in fat, high on flavor, and – best of all – “develops flavor if made a few hours ahead and reheated.”  Perfect!

They’re halfway done right now, as the chicken stock they bake in is reducing, and look like this:

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JACQUES PEPIN’S LOW-FAT POMMES BOULANGERE

(adapted)

2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick

1 T olive oil

1 large sweet onion halved and sliced thinly

3 cups chicken broth

4 very large garlic cloves sliced thinly

2 bay leaves

1 T fresh thyme or 1 t dried

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t black pepper

2 T chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400.

Place the sliced potatoes in a large bowl.

In a large skillet, sauté the onions in olive oil over medium heat about 4-5 minutes to soften.  Add the chicken broth, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt & pepper and bring to a boil.

Pour the onion/broth mixture over the potatoes, stir to distribute evenly, and move the mixture to a gratin or baking dish.  Bake for 60-90 minutes, until potatoes are soft when pierced with a sharp knife and the dish is well-browned on top.  Set aside for serving time.

Reheat if necessary in oven or microwave, and garnish with parsley.

The fish will be prepared later, and to round out our dinner, either a salad or sautéed brussels sprouts – it’s early and I haven’t yet decided.

And now they’re done and will be reheated once our fish is cooked:

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BAKED COD WITH PANKO CRUST

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I usually do this fish in the above-seen red tarte tatin pan, but having used that for the potatoes, this gratin dish worked just fine:

INGREDIENTS

1-1/4 lbs Captain’s Cut cod, cut in half for two servings

1 T mayonnaise mixed with 1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 t EVOO

1 t butter

1 small shallot minced

1 medium clove garlic minced

1/2 cup panko

1 t Old Bay seasoning

1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme basil, or oregano

1 tsp grated lemon rind

Lemon wedges

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 (convect). Brush the cod fillets with the mayo/Dijon mixture. Saute the shallot and garlic in the butter & EVOO until softened. Remove pan from heat and stir in the Panko, herbs, lemon rind and Old Bay seasoning to combine. Spread 1/2 of mixture over each piece of fish and pat down to adhere. Bake about 15 minutes in a lightly oiled skillet or shallow baking pan just large enough to hold the fish. Serve with lemon wedges

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