As you all know, Whitney took a cooking class at the French Culinary Institute this summer. Every Saturday she would spend the entire day on her feet, learning how to braise, saute, pan sear, and other things awesome and francais. Not only did she make delicious food, but she usually brought it home for me to try! One Saturday evening, Whit came home with pan seared monkfish and sauteed vegetables. The fish was white and flakey and the veggies were buttery and tender. Everything was mouth watering. So when I was ambling around whole foods last night, looking for something to make for dinner, I immediately thought of this delicious meal and decided give it a go.
The fish counter didn’t have any monkfish so I bought cod instead. They’re both white fish with a similar texture so I figured they would cook in relatively the same manner. I also bought my favorite summer vegetables: summer squash, zucchini, and orange cherry tomatoes. Taking a hint from Anthony Bourdain who says that every cook should always be armed with shallots and garlic, I picked some of those up too.
Pan Seared Cod
2/3 pound cod
enough flour to coat the fish
3 tablespoons of olive oil and canola oil mixture
juice of 1 lemon
parsley and basil to garnish
Sauteed Summer Vegetables
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small summer squash, chopped
10 orange cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup vegetable broth
thyme, salt and pepper to taste
I would start by cooking the vegetables because they take the longest. Heat the pan to medium-high and drop in oil and butter. First saute the shallots until they’re translucent and then add in the garlic. The smells emanating from your pan should be just delicious. I love that buttery shallot smell with the garlic; I would probably eat that mixture plain if that were acceptable. Anyway, after about two more minutes, add in the summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes. I was worried that the squash and zucchini wouldn’t cook all the way through so I actually added some vegetable broth. This steams the vegetables as well as adds some flavor. In the end, the broth mixed with the starches and juices from the vegetables actually made a really delicious sauce. After you add the broth, cover the pan for about ten minutes.
While the veggies are steaming, take out your fish and cut into two rectangular pieces. Dust them with some flour, salt and pepper. This will make a nice crust when you pan sear them. Heat the oil mixture in a very, very hot pan. Whitney told me that this ensures the fish won’t stick. When the oil is bubbly and steamy, carefully place in the fish. Depending on how much fish you have, you will probably need to cook it from 4-6 minutes on each side. This allows it to not only cook through, but have a nice lightly browned crust.
When your fish is almost ready, uncover your vegetables. The squash and zucchini should be soft if you poke them with a fork and the tomato skins should be sort of wrinkly. At this point, I added some salt and pepper as well as some thyme for a bit of an extra earthy flavor. Spoon out some veggies onto your plate and top with a piece of fish. For a sauce, I used the juices from the vegetables and a lot of lemon juice as that acidity works so well with the buttery nature of the rest of the dish. Then top with some parsley and basil and enjoy!
This forkful is in honor of the author of One Perfect Bite. Mary, this one’s for you! It really was a delicious mouthful of tender and flakey cod with a juicy tomato and soft summer squash. The flavors of the dish went really well together and I devoured it all! I especially enjoyed the sweet oniony flavor from the shallots. They are a little bit more delicate and sweet than typical onions and don’t make my eyes tear as much when I chop them. Fish and vegetables is a great summer dish. It’s light and fluffy but at the same time very filling. Every vegetable has its own unique flavor and adds so much to the dish without adding preservatives, trans-fats, or hydrogenated crap. For that, we all must be very thankful. Thanks to Whit for teaching me over AIM how to pan sear!
Hope you all give this creation a try!