Sunday, February 19, 2012

Home Cookin': Bacon Wrapped Cod

I'm so thankful for PID. He is such a patient and wonderful man who is kind enough to cook dinner for us most nights. His backwards schedule allows him to be home around 3:15, so it makes sense that way. But recently we've been training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon together which means running instead of eating when I get home from work. This has been a blessing in disguise because, while we're eating a bit later, it gives me the opportunity to get back into the kitchen.

This week we forgot to thaw out meat before leaving in the morning, so we dug through the freezer to find something -- anything -- that would de-thaw quickly.  I found some mystery white fish. Perfect.  Now what in the world to do with it...

I opened up both refrigerator doors and stared blankly for a moment or two before the bacon caught my eye.

The night's menu instantly developed in my head: bacon-wrapped "Mystery Fish" with a stone-ground mustard beurre blanc on a bed of wilted swiss chard and wild rice.

I should admit that I don't just go around dreaming of beurre blancs. When I saw the bacon, I had vaguely remembered seeing a recipe in my Cook like a Top Chef cookbook that would work. So I channeled Chef Hosea on this one and began by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees.

Here's what you'll need for the fish:
4 pieces of flaky white fish (like Cod, Halibut, Arctic Char or Mahi Mahi) about 4-6 oz each
4-6 slices of bacon (I would NOT recommend using Turkey Bacon)
2 tbs Canola oil
salt and pepper

Here's what you'll need for the beurre blanc:
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 green onion
12 peppercorns (I used 4 black, 4 green and 4 white)
1 large bay leaf
1/4 cup heavy cream
1.5 sticks of unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard

Here's what you'll need for the bed:
8 stalks fresh swiss chard
lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 dry white cooking wine
salt and pepper
1 package Uncle Ben's 90-Second Ready Rice Long Grain & Wild

Prepare your fish first by seasoning your fish with salt and pepper, wrapping each piece in bacon and seasoning again.

Then set aside and get started on your beurre blanc. That may seem a bit backwards, but of all of the items, the sauce takes the longest.

In a medium saucepan, heat your wine, lemon juice, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns over medium heat, reducing until noticeably syrupy.

Next, add your heavy cream and reduce to a thick, milky sauce.

Here's where i'd suggest getting started on your fish. Heat your oil on medium-high heat in an oven-safe saute pan and, when it's screeching hot, sear your fish until your bacon darkens and your fish reaches a golden brown, flipping for even cooking -- about 4 minutes per side.

Keep an eye on your fish and when they reach their desired color, transfer your pan into the oven, roasting until just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.

While your fish is searing and your beurre blanc is reducing, heat your olive oil in a large dutch oven on medium heat, then add your white wine, swiss chard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and steam for 2-3 minutes.

Next, toss your rice in the microwave for 1:30. That's the easy part.

Now it's back to your beurre blanc (while still keeping an eye on your fish).  Add your butter, a few cubes at a time, whisking until fully incorporated.

Strain the sauce through a sifter into a new saucepan, add the mustard, stir and keep warm on low heat.

When your fish is ready, remove it from the oven and cover with aluminum foil or a high lid while prepping your plate.

Layer your swiss chard, rice and fish on top of one another, then drizzle your beurre blanc across the fish and the plate...

...and ENJOY!!!!

I may have written this recipe in a roundabout way, but I know that I always have a hard time properly timing my cooking and I was hoping this may help you to prioritize. To clarify the beurre blanc recipe, here it is all at once:

Heat wine, lemon juice, peppercorns, bay leaf and onion on medium-high heat in a medium saucepan, reducing until syrupy. Add heavy cream and reduce to a thick sauce. Add butter cubes and whisk until fully incorporated, then strain into a new saucepan and add mustard. Keep warm. Be patient with the reductions, they take quite a few minutes to reach their proper consistencies.

This recipe didn't take long at all and was a fairly simple execution -- and was utterly delicious! It also feels pretty cool to be able to say I made a beurre blanc....and it wasn't hard at all! Top Chef Blake?  Ya never know...

What's your favorite sauce to brag about having made?

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