mustard-coated parsley-breaded cod; sunchokes; cress

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