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Pan Roasted Cod Loin with Spaghetti Squash

February 20, 2018

Pan Roasted Cod Loin with Spaghetti Squash

This past Christmas my cousin Agnieszka (it's easier to say cousin than "my wife's cousin's wife") prepared a roasted cod and vegetable slaw that was unquestionably one of the best meals I've had, ever. What's most notable to me is that I'd never in my life said, "man I hope the seafood market has some fresh cod today". I'd eaten more than a little bit of this fish working over in the UK, and I liked it, but I wasn't clamoring for more any time soon. This meal changed that for me.

Last Sunday I stopped at the market to pick up a few things, and there in the seafood department was the fish monger closing the case after placing a few dozen fresh, glistening cod loins on ice. I had first pick, and before I knew it I had nearly two pounds of fish in butcher paper tucked in next to a bottle of Rioja they were sampling in the wine department and my son's bag of fresh tortillas. As I was waiting to check out it occurred to me I had no idea what I wanted to do with the fish. But honestly that's the BEST way to buy seafood.

I almost never go to the fish market with a plan. A sure path to disappointment is to be intent on making your favorite salmon dish, only to get to the market to find a few dull odds and ends of what may have been a terrific fillet... two days ago. To me, it's best to show up with no plan at all, see what's the freshest thing in the case. Ask "what came in today? and they'll more than likely tell you. If they won't maybe go elsewhere.

Ingredients:

1 cod loin, 1 to 1.5 pounds
2 T unsalted butter
1 T Hill Country Olive Oil
1 T Superfly ATX, (or Amalfi Coast Blend, Texas Chardonnay Salt with Chanterelle Mushroom, Tarragon & Shallot, Texas White Wine Salt with Coriander, Lemon Peel, and Roasted garlic, or Namaste Nuna).

To garnish: Chopped scallions, radish microgreens, and roasted garlic slices (see the spaghetti squash recipe below).

Technique: (If the cod loin is greater than 1 inch thick, preheat an oven at 400 degrees). For this dish I went with a very simple approach. I seasoned the cod loin liberally on all sides with a new blend, Superfly ATX. Why did I give this blend such a funky name? I didn't know what else to call it, and its funky man. Cardamom, lemongrass, star anise, some turmeric... and two of my favorite chilis: ancho & cascabel. Don't have it yet? No worries. If you have any favorite Hill Country Salt that we recommend on seafood that will work just as well. I placed a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and added two tablespoons of unsalted butter and a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Once the butter melted I placed the cod in the pan for four minutes. It's delicate, so I didn't disturb the fish until it was time to flip it, and then I used a wide spatula to gently turn it over. If the fish were 1/2 to 1-inch think, it would be done after another 2-4 minutes here. But this was about 1 3/4 inches at the thickest point, so I finished it for 8 minutes in a 400-degree oven and it was perfect. Spoon some of the melted butter/olive oil from the pan onto the fish and top with sliced scallions, radish sprouts, and roasted garlic slices.

 

For the spaghetti squash:

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic
1 T Hill Country Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Technique: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out fibrous pulp and seeds and discard. Slice the garlic cloves into thin discs. Coat the squash (only exposed flesh, not the outer skin) with olive oil. Rub the garlic slices inside the squash to coat with oil and allow them to rest inside the "bowl" of the squash, oiled side up. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes. Start the fish when the squash has been in for 20 minutes. If you're using a thick piece of fish, turn the oven up to 400 degrees when you remove the squash.

Set aside the roasted garlic slices to use as a garnish once the fish is done.





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