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Originally published Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 6:00 AM

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Recipe: Pecan-crusted cod with rosemary

4 to 6 servings For the cod: 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion, coarsely chopped (1/2...

The Washington Post

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4 to 6 servings

For the cod:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 medium Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus a pinch

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus a pinch

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

2 cups pecans

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1/4 cup parsley leaves

4 to 6 cod fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each

For the mustard sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons cold water

3/4 cup chicken broth or water

2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

2 tablespoons stone-ground or coarse-grain mustard

1 tablespoon honey

Pinch salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

For the cod: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a baking dish large enough to hold all of the fillets in one layer, and a rack that fits into the baking dish.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and cook for 5 or 6 minutes, until they soften, stirring frequently so they don't color or stick. Add the mustard, stir to coat the onions and remove from the heat.

Place the pecans and breadcrumbs in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for 15 seconds or until they form a fine meal. Add the butter, the onion-mustard mixture, rosemary, Old Bay, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Pulse for 15 to 20 seconds, until the mixture has a soft, pebbly texture.

Blot the fish with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Season on both sides with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Use your hands to top the fish with a thick layer of the pecan mixture, about 2 tablespoons for each fillet. (You want to pat it on as if you were making a sand castle.)

Lay the fillets on the rack and place the rack in the baking dish. Bake for about 12 minutes, until there's some bounce-back to the touch and a fork or knife will go in easily and will feel warm when inserted in the center; or until the temperature at the center measures 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (The baking time could be shorter or longer, depending on the thickness of your fillets. Serve immediately, accompanied with mustard sauce, if desired.

For the mustard sauce: Stir the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl to combine.

Heat the broth in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it boils, give the cornstarch mixture a good stir. Begin to whisk the broth as you drizzle in the cornstarch mixture. Once you have added all of the cornstarch mixture, reduce the heat to low and continue whisking to achieve a smooth mixture. Cook for about two minutes, adjusting the heat so the mixture is barely bubbling, until the liquid thickens.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the mustards and honey, whisking to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Nutrition Per serving (based on 6, using half the pecan crust): 320 calories, 23 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 580 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

Adapted from "American Flavor," by Andrew Carmellini

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