It’s a great fish, a simple recipe, and nothing should go wrong. But it did, a little: I somehow ended up salting this beautiful cod fillet a bit too generously before I coated one side with herbed breadcrumbs and lowered it into the pan. It happens, but I’m more often guilty of undersalting, so I have no idea why it went the other way this time.
There’s actually something that can be done to recover from such accidents, and fortunately I had the antidote right on the counter this time: Lemon. A squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of a mild vinegar usually helps reduce the impact of an injudicious application of too much salt.
I had been storing the sunchokes for some time, but they were in great condition; I had brought home the upland cress only 2 days before and it was super shape. Both tasted terrific, and their seasoning was fine.
- one 14-ounce fresh cod fillet from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, brought to room temperature, seasoned with salt on both sides, then only the top side (former skin side) brushed with a little French dijon mustard which had been mixed with a very small amount of water to make it easier to spread, the two pieces dipped into a mixture of homemade breadcrumbs mixed with some finely-chopped parsley from Norwich Meadows farm, browned briefly on the side coated with the mustard and breadcrumb mix in a little olive oil inside a tin-lined copper au gratin pan, transferred to a 325º oven and cooked until the fish began to flake (only about 9 minutes this time, because the pieces were not really thick) [the recipe is based on Thomas Keller’s ‘Wild Cod en Persillade‘]
- sunchokes (about 14 ounces), small ‘rootlings’ removed, trimmed, scrubbed, sliced by hand very thinly (1/8-1/4 inch), tossed with barely a tablespoon of olive oil (I think the small amount is somewhat critical to ensuring maximum crispiness), sea salt, freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, a bit of crushed orange-gold habanada pepper, a few fresh sage leaves from from S. & S.O. Produce Farm, and two halved bay leaves from Westside Market, then spread in one layer onto 2 large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pans (a single pan wasn’t enough, since they had been cut so thinly and they really should show a lot of surrounding surface to become crisp), roasted at 425º for about 30 minutes, or until they were brown, tender, and crispy on the edges, arranged on 2 plates and sprinkled with purple radish micro greens from Windfall Farms
- part of a bunch of wild garlic from Lani’s Farm, bulbs and stems, roughly chopped, heated inside a medium tin-lined heavy copper pan with a little olive oil, joined slowly, stirring, by 2 handfuls of upland cress from Paffenroth Gardens until the greens were only partially wilted, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper
- the wine was a California (Napa) white, David Marchesi Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016, from Naked Wines
- the music was the album, ‘Ernst Krenek: Complete Piano Concertos’, with Kenneth Woods conducting the English Symphony Orchestra, and, variously, the soloists Mikhail Korzhev, Eric Huebner, Nurit Pacht, and Adrian Partington