Friday, March 9, 2012

Eat: Sauteed Cod with Lentils, and Broiled Aspargus with Balsamic Vinegar

I have 323 recipes stored in my Epicurious recipe box. Of course I have the intention of trying each and every one of them but that's probably not going to happen. Every now and then I feel I have just enough energy at the end of a work day to open the box and select a recipe to make that night for dinner. That can be tricky endeavor for 2 reasons; first, many recipes require marinating or some other  preparation hours in advance, and second, the recipes sound great until I get to my grocery store and realize some of the most essential ingredients are not available . Like I said before, I have limited energy (and interest) in hunting down ingredients on a week day so to avoid issues I usually select 1-2 different recipes to take with me as back up options. 

In the end, I found the right ingredients and decided on making Sauteed Cod with Lentils. The result was delicious, this recipe is definitely a keeper. The butter used to brown the onions prior to folding into the lentils has such a rich deep flavour, it should not be left out. A touch of acid from the fresh lemon juice and additional flavouring from the flat leaf parsley turns the lentils into something else entirely. The fish is a basic saute with salt & pepper, but the wonderful meaty & slightly salty texture really balances well with the lentils. The preparation of the asparagus may not have matched the lentils & cod perfectly, but it did not detract from the other flavours either.

For shame, I did not take my own picture of the meal. Which is probably just as well since my plating is atrocious and I was too hungry to slow down enough to immortalize it. Next time I'll make the effort and update this entry with a new pic. In the meantime, here's the picture from  Epicurious:

Photo Courtesy of

Original Recipe:  Sauteed Cod with Lentils.

  • Without a doubt, you can half the butter in both the lentils and fish preparation and still be fine.
  • I used lentilles du Puy because I really love how meaty they are.
  • I had asparagus on hand so I rubbed those with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and cracked pepper and broiled then for a few minutes to serve as a side dish.
Modified Version: Sauteed Cod with Lentils, and Broiled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar

For Lentils
  •     1 cup dried lentilles du Puy
  •     1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •     1 cup finely chopped onion
  •     2-4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  •     3/4 teaspoon salt
  •     3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  •     1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  •     1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For Cod
  •     2(6-ounces) pieces cod fillet
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  •     1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
For Asparagus
  •     1 tablespoon olive oil
  •     1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  •     1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Cover lentils with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 12 to 25 minutes. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl and reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid. While lentils are simmering, melt butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then stir in onion, garlic, and salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 10 minutes. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 10 minutes more. Stir in lentils and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten (1/4 to 1/2 cup) and cook until heated through. Just before serving, stir in parsley, lemon juice, pepper, and aprox. 1 tablespoon oil.

Cook fish while onion finishes cooking; Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in a 10- to 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté fish, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total. Serve fish with lentils.

Set oven to Broil (aprox. 500C). Prep a roasting pan or glass tray with tin foil. Using one spear of asparagus, bend the spear until the end snaps off . Using this spear as a guide, cut the woody ends off of the remaining spears at the same point. Put the spears in to the lined pan, allowing for a bit of space between each spear. Mix the vinegar, oil and pepper in a bowl and pour the mix onto the spears to coat. Put in oven for approximately 10 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel.

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