Don’t be frizzled by a dish’s photo – just cook it!

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After writing 71 posts about Becky’s fabulous creations in the Good Fish book, it’s hard to keep coming up with creative new ways to describe these dishes.  Yes, I’m tired…

So for today’s Black Cod with Toasted Almond Milk, Delicata Squash and Frizzled Leeks (pg 141), I’ve decided to let the master herself describe this dish – honestly, I could not do a better job anyway!

“This is an atypical dish: the toasted almond milk is neither a soup nor a sauce, but a light broth infused with nuts, leeks, sweet winter squash, and the flavorful black cod bones, which imbue the dish with a notable depth. The lightness of the broth cuts the richness of the fish, while a nest of crispy fried leeks adds crunch and texture. The final, not to be missed, coup de grâce is a garnish of butter-fried almonds.”

As I’ve said before, I hadn’t eaten much black cod but it has truly become one of my favorites this summer.  It’s such a rich, succulent, wonderful flavor that both soars above whatever you are serving with it, and complements its sister ingredients too.  I will say this #4 difficulty recipe was much more complicated and time-intensive than the #5 dish “Faux-Nagi” but it’s well worth investing a few hours of your time.

The first step of making the broth was rather interesting, as I watched the diverse ingredients bubble away, not quite believing this was going to taste like anything I would like.  In fact, I was showing the recipe photo to people earlier in the week, telling them I had been avoiding this recipe because it didn’t “look” very good.  Dork!

These leeks are clearly frizzled!

Another lesson I’ve learned during this project is the importance of the small details and how little accouterments can truly elevate a dish.  In this recipe, there were two such winners, the frizzled leeks and the toasted almonds, both appearing to just play minor roles as garnishes.  The leeks were actually fun to prepare – I have no idea why! – but I couldn’t wait to taste their crunchy goodness, as they looked like the much more sophisticated brother of the French Fried Onion bits in your favorite Green Bean Casserole (admit it, you love that!!)  I could have eaten a bowlful of them and am certain I’ll use them on future dishes, and the butter toasted almonds added a decadent salty crunch to the final dish as well.  I made a few extras, just for snacking!

And while I’m patting myself on the back, I’m also rather proud of the fish-cooking skills I’ve acquired during this project, specifically knowing when a fillet is perfectly cooked.  Becky has a beautiful illustration of the do’s-don’ts in the book and I feel very confident that I’ve mastered the skill, particularly with halibut and black cod.  Just look at my picture to the right to see how it’s done, people…

Before my head gets any bigger, I’m going to wrap up by advising you not to judge a dish by its picture (even though your photos are lovely, Clare Barboza!!) because the final taste of this one was so incredibly delicious that I would have kicked myself if I would have skipped over it just because of its looks (another good life lesson, LOL!).  Paired with a French Chardonnay, you’ll be drinking to your brilliance for hanging in there on this dish – it’s just that good.

Can you tell which is the professional photo??

 

NEXT: And then there were three…final recipes are Smoked Sardines, Scallops and Mussels – don’t touch that dial!


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Copyright 2011 Karen Rosenzweig