The Literate Chef

Poached Cod with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

In Fish, Recipes on September 2, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Poached Cod with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Poached Cod with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Despite the proliferation and availability of Cod on the eponymous Cape where we’ve made our home for the past several years, I usually refrain from cooking it, as it does not lend itself to many cooking techniques. You can’t grill it, it falls apart too easily. Similarly you can’t sauté it, it quickly turns to mush. I suppose you could bake or roast it, but who wants to heat up the oven to 400 degrees in the summer. My dear wife (a/k/a Grammy) has been after me to prepare it for some time. So yesterday, after recalling an earlier success with Pan-Seared Cod, I decided to try poaching and picked up a lovely one pound fillet at our local fishmonger. It was a perfect piece, center cut, about one inch thick throughout, which makes for even cooking.

Ever helpful, Grammy suggested a combination of tomatoes, olives and capers, similar to the preparation used in Red Snapper LivorneseI complied with her suggestion, I’d be a fool not to,  and last night’s dinner was a rousing success.

(Total preparation and cooking time 30 minutes; serves 2)

Ingredients:

1 lb. Cod fillet, preferably 1 inch thick throughout
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped shallots
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup clam juice or fish stock
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
1 cup stuffed green olives (with pimento) halved widthwise
5 tbsp. capers with juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

1. Salt & pepper the Cod fillet on both sides.
2. In a braising pan or a sauté pan  or a skillet that has a cover, heat the olive oil on medium low, add the shallots and cook until soft.
3. Add the white wine, bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the seasoned Cod.
5. Add the clam juice, or fish stock.
6. Add the tomatoes, olives and capers, cover and poach for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fish begins to flake.
7. Gently remove the Cod fillet, divide in two, plate and keep warm.
8. Bring the sauce to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes then, spoon the sauce equally over each plate.

Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage

In Recipes, Soups, Stews on August 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM

 

Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage

Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage

 

Having ordered Andouille Sausage from D’Artagnan for my Shrimp & Grits, I found myself on their mailing list, and as luck would have it, received an e-mail about Merguez Sausage. I had sampled these spicy and delicious lamb sausages at a wine tasting some time ago, but had forgotten all about them.  So, I ordered a few pounds with which to experiment.

Thinking about what to do with them, beans first came to mind. Franks (they are sausages of course) and beans are a natural combination, and lamb and beans are a happy couple – Braised Lamb Shanks with White beans. Thinking about what else would go well with lamb, I thought of  Gosht Palak, which is a great Indian dish consisting of lamb and spinach. So, I thought, why not put them all together…in a soup!

Of course I’d need a liquid base and some color, and perhaps a few flavor enhancers in addition to the Merguez. Tomatoes sautéed in garlic and oil would enhance almost any soup, as would some white wine and fresh rosemary, the latter of which compliments lamb very nicely. And for the liquid, the all-purpose chicken stock. Finally, for added spice, if necessary, Hot Hungarian Paprika. All of the ingredients were either in the fridge or the pantry, so it was a go.

Everything moved smoothly until I got to the spinach point. I had planned to use some frozen chopped spinach, but alas, there was none to be had. However, I did find a bunch of arugula that was still fresh, so opted to go with that rather than run out to the market.

Preparation time: overnight soaking of beans; active-40 minutes; unattended- 2 hours.

Makes enough for 8 people as a complete meal, (leftovers can be frozen for additional meals) or more as a first course.

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried Cannellini Beans, soaked overnight
2 & 1/4 lbs. Merguez Sausage
1 lb. Grape Tomatoes halved.
12 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup + 1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lb. spinach, or substitute with 1 small bunch of arugula
1 qt. Low–sodium chicken stock.
6 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
Fresh rosemary, chopped fine, about 1 Tbsp.

Preparation:

1. In a five quart pot, heat the 6 Tbsp. of olive oil and lightly sauté the garlic.
2. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium high heat until, they give up their juices, about 6 minutes.
3. Add the 1 cup wine, bring to boil and reduce by half.
4. Stir in the beans and mix well.
5. Add chicken stock and bring to boil.
6. Add the spinach or arugula, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
7. In the meantime in a heavy skillet, lightly brown the sausage in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then slice each sausage into 1/2 inch pieces.
8. Add sausage slices to the bean soup.
9. Deglaze the skillet with the 1/4 cup wine and add to soup.
10. Add chopped rosemary.
11. After 2 hours remove two cups of beans, place in food processor, process and return to pot.

Notes:

  • Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • If the soup is not spicy enough for your liking, consider adding some Hot Hungarian Paprika at the table.

 

 

 

Memories of Grandpa and Summers at The Shore

In General Articles on August 9, 2014 at 4:20 PM

The Literate Chef:

It’s August and the tomatoes are in full ripeness. Go get some along with fresh basil garlic, and whip up a big batch of Grandpa Tom’s tomato salad. We’ve done so for tonight’s dinner.

Originally posted on The Literate Chef:

Grandpa Tom's Tomato Salad

Grandpa Tom’s Tomato Salad  (click link for recipe)

I was 7 years old in the winter of 1950 when my maternal grandfather disappeared from my life. In my childhood memories, he was big and loud, gregarious and full of laughter, and when he died I missed him greatly and still do, all of these years later.

Grandpa Tom

Grandpa Tom

Grandpa Tom owned the Maple Grove, a hotel/boarding house inAtlantic Highlands, NJ. We used to visit him every summer and sometimes at Christmas, from what I can recall. On the summer trips my parents would usually stay for a week and then return to NYC, while I would stay on for several more weeks with my cousins. Getting to Atlantic Highlands from the Inwood neighborhood of Northern Manhattan, without a car, was quite an adventure during the 1940’s, and to my 5 and 6 year old mind, seemed…

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