If you’ve noticed the trend that I gravitate more toward fish dishes during the summer months, then good for you. But to be honest, this compulsion often goes uncalculated. Most people are aware about the benefits of fish as a good-oil, good-fat protein; but—all gastronomic pedagogy aside—sometimes fresh fish just feels right.
Unfortunately, the Hoosier state is far from being a seafood “hub,” it would be equally unfortunate if the culinarily inclined chose to shrug their shoulders and settle for freezer-burned fish sticks. (I don’t care how sagely the Gorton’s Fisherman carries himself.) Decent cod is not only widely available in most chain markets and grocery stores, but it’s relatively accessible for a cook who’s unsure of their fish skills. You’ll notice that this portion of cod is quite hearty, coming in at eight ounces—that’s half of a pound. But for me, I’ll opt for a few extra ounces of fresh, flavorful, and keenly-cooked fish in lieu of starch any day. I think asparagus goes well with this dish, but I think asparagus goes well with just about all fish.
So march up to the fish monger’s glass counter at your grocery store—ask incisive questions. Don’t settle for something “fishy,” and I don’t mean the “sticks.”
Pan-seared cod with arugula vinaigrette
2, 8-ounce cod fillets
As needed, all-purpose flour
1 ounce fresh arugula
1 tablespoon white or sherry vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch sugar, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper
4 ounces tomato sauce (prepared or canned)
1. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a sauté pan over moderate to high heat. Season cod with kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and lightly dust with flour. Gently settled the cod into the sauté pan; allow fish to sear on all sides before placing it in a 425° F. oven to finish cooking through.
2. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, add arugula, vinegar, sugar, salt and cracked black pepper, and puree, slowly drizzling in the oil as you blend ingredients together. When vinaigrette has emulsified, reserve in a bowl. Once fish is cooked through, allow to rest for a few minutes before serving with arugula vinaigrette, tomato sauce and vegetable of choice.
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