Monday, June 10, 2013

Cod with Mustard Cream Sauce and Scandinavian Style Condiments

This week’s theme is Scandinavian food, which I know nothing about beyond Ikea’s Swedish meatballs. So I poked around the blogosphere and found this recipe:, and was intrigued by the strange combinations of foods. I tweaked the recipe (I already had pickled beets in my pantry, so I sautéed some spinach instead of beet greens), but left the elements largely intact. I was hoping that maybe the Norwegians were on to something, but it didn’t turn out to be the case. All of these items are fine on their own, but they never coalesce, and you’re left with a strange smorgasbord.

All the recipes are pretty straightforward, especially if you've made French mother sauces before (I think this technically is a sauce supreme). There’s a lot going of elements to finish at the same time though, so make sure you've got everything timed out. You’ll need to finish the fish before starting the sauce, so allow enough time to do so.

1 filet of cod or other white fish per person
1 celery stalk
2 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 shallot, sliced
½ cup vermouth
Salt and pepper

Fill a large 12” sautee pan with enough water to cover the fish. Add celery, parsley, bay leaf, shallout, vermouth, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer (180°F). Add fish to pan and poach (keep at a light simmer) for 2 to 3 minutes (may need to adjust cooking times based on thickness – my filets were long and flat so they cooked quckly). Remove fish from pan, cover with foil to keep warm, and reserve 1 ¾ cup cooking liquid.

Mustard and Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 ¾ cup reserved fish poaching liquid
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ cup Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper (if needed)

Melt the butter in a small saucepan then add flour and whisk to make a roux. Once the flour and butter are incorporated, slowly add the 1 ¾ cup cooking liquid left over from poaching the cod, whisking to incorporate. Once it’s all added, add the cream and Dijon mustard, mix and adjust for taste by adding salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

1 medium Yukon gold potato per person, roughly chopped into 1” chunks

Bring a pot of well salted water (seriously, taste the water and make sure it’s salty) to a boil and add the potatoes. Lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces. The potatoes are ready when they can be pierced by a fork, but are not falling apart.

1 slice per person

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place bacon on top, and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until bacon reaches desired crispiness.

1 to 2 garlic cloves
Spinach leaves (more than you think)
Olive oil

Dice your garlic, preheat a pan to medium and add in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic, and cook for 45 seconds. Add spinach (just throw a whole bunch in – if you’re not familiar with cooked spinach, add more than you need as it will cook down significantly) and sautee for about 2 minutes.

Pickled Beets:
I had some of these canned already, but here’s a good recipe to follow:

Hard boiled eggs: 

Place eggs in a medium pot and add enough cold water to cover by an inch. I like to add a splash of white vinegar (in case the shells crack – keeps the egg from leaking out) and ½ teaspoon of salt (allegedly makes the eggs easier to peel). Bring to a boil. Let boil for a minute (I turned off the heat on my electric burner, and the residual heat kept it at a boil), then cover and remove from heat. Let them sit undisturbed for 12 minutes, then remove eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool.


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