It is winter. It is devastatingly cold. Ice is everywhere and it is a miracle I’ve only fallen one time. This miserable and discouraging trend will likely continue here in the North East through March (said a groundhog who shall remain nameless). Halfway decent produce is severely lacking. How are we going to make it to spring!? Incorporating frozen vegetables? It doesn’t sound incredibly appealing, but there are ways to positively integrate these icy nuggets into enjoyable meals.
Case and point: spinach & peas. A block of spinach and a bag of peas can go a long way in transforming an uninspired plate. Now I’m not talking a quick defrost and voila! We’re better than that. Instead, I’ll explain how to make a effortless green purée to serve under a luscious piece of baked cod wrapped in proscuitto. Lemon dill butter and crispy red bliss potato rounds will further elevate the situation. I’m not saying this meal will cure seasonal depression (wine helps), but just remember that farmer’s markets are basically around the corner. Until then, let the Green Giant have your back. He’s an OK dude.
Here’s what you need:
For the Fish (Yields 4 Servings)
– (4) 6 oz Cod Filets
– (4) Slices of Proscuitto di Parma
For the Butter
– (1/2) Stick Unsalted Butter (room temperature, soft)
– (1/2) Cup Olive Oil
– Generous Amount of Fresh Dill (chopped)
– (1-2) Lemons (juice & zest)
– Coarse Sea Salt (pinch)
– Black Pepper (few healthy dashes)
For the Purée
– Dash Olive Oil
– (1) Tbsp. Garlic (diced)
– (1) Shallot (diced)
– (1 1/2) Cups Frozen Peas
– (1/4) Block Frozen Spinach
– Salt & Pepper (to taste)
– Almond Milk (added until desired consistency is reached)
For the Potatoes
– (3) Red Bliss Potatoes
– Vegetable Oil for Pan Frying
– Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Let’s knock the butter out first. Start whipping it and slowly add the olive oil until everything is completely combined. Next, simply add the finely chopped dill, lemon juice, lemon zest and s & p. Just let everything whip until it reaches a smooth, light consistency.
Take a generous amount of this butter and slather the cod (reserve some to top the fish with later). At this time, I sprinkle more pepper over the filets. Between the butter and the proscuitto that is about to envelop the fish, I feel that more than enough salt has been utilized. Wrap each piece of fish with a piece of proscuitto, then place them in a baking dish. Make sure your oven is preheated to 350. Let them roast for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on thickness. Once they appear almost solid white, switch the oven to broil for 3 or 4 minutes, just to get a nice crisp on the proscuitto.
While your fish is having fun in the oven, you can make the super delicious purée it will be served over. Splash a small sauce pan with olive oil and pitch in your diced shallot and garlic. Toast your garlic, get the shallot clear (you know how it goes). Now the spinach and peas join the party. It is much easier if they have been somewhat defrosted. Once everything is brought to a simmer, I start adding the almond milk. Can you use cream? Absolutely, but I wanted to make this puree dairy free. I realize I coated the fish in butter, but it was butter dramatically cut with olive oil and I wanted to try something different with the purée. The almond milk actually adds a subtle sweetness that pairs really well with all the other flavors. Anyway, I digress, grab an immersion blender and purée everything in the sauce pan. I like to leave it a bit rustic, a few whole peas never hurt nobody!
Play around with it in general, add more milk if you think it needs it. The flavors are great and it can be served warm or cold. Add more olive oil and it’s similar to a pesto. Keep it super chunky and it’s reminiscent of hummus. I definitely use it as a condiment on most things now. Sandwich spread, salad dressing, etc.
The last piece to this puzzle is the potatoes. Yeah, we’re getting our starch on. Rinse three red bliss potatoes, but do not peal them (well you can, I can’t stop you, but I wouldn’t waste my time). Then cut them a bit thicker than a chip, but still fairly thin. Put them in cold water for a few minutes to get some of the starch out and then pat dry. Since they were cut thicker, starch removal will allow the middle to have a fluffy texture even after being fried. Get the vegetable oil very hot in a skillet. Brown the potatoes on each side and then allow them to drain on paper towels. Season them with s & p.
Hopefully you’ve timed all this perfectly and your fish has just rested on the counter for a couple minutes. Now the plating fun begins. Green puree down first, fish on top with potatoes cascading off the side. Dollop some of the leftover lemon dill butter on top of the fish and potatoes. Maybe add a sprig of fresh dill. You can thank me later.