This is another Jaime Oliver inspired dish, that although it may cause certain types a bit of trouble, is so delicious that I predict you’re going to make it again and again. I’ll be the first to admit that this dish is not exactly seasonally pure, and understand that those of you who will ONLY cook what is locally and seasonally fresh may fight back on this one a bit. I am of course talking about the inclusion of asparagus in this dish, because let me be clear, in my book there is never a season where something wrapped in bacon isn’t appropriate. Are in agreement on this point?
Good, then let’s move on.
Those of you who can look past my seasonal transgression here, will find this dish beautifully balanced, with the freshness of the asparagus (amped by the acidity of the lemon mayo sauce) a perfect accompaniment to the smoky, moist and flaky fish filet. If asparagus in the middle of winter is really too much of a stretch for you, by all means sub-in whatever seasonally appropriate veggie side you desire.
This is a quick to prep dish easily served for a weeknight dinner, with really only two keys to assured success. The first is to find the thickest piece of fresh cod (or other white fish such as haddock, halibut, monkfish, or sea bass) that you can, the second is to make sure you have uniformly thin pieces of bacon in which to wrap the it. Some bacon comes from the market quite thin, but if your doesn’t, do take the time to pound it out a bit between two layers of plastic wrap. The combination of a thick piece of fish, and thin strips of bacon assures that the bacon can cook to a nice degree of crispness, in the same amount of time that it takes for the fish to just cook through. A combination of thick bacon and thin fish leads to either rubbery bacon, or overcooked fish, either outcome being far less than optimal. I would have liked our fish even thicker than what you see on the photo above, but it was the best we could do.
Muppet was more than happy to bang away at the bacon with my meat mallet the other night, ensuring perfectly uniform strips which cooked beautifully. We roasted our asparagus for about 8 minutes on a separate rack in the oven while the fish cooked, and served it all with a brown rice dish, though a potato side would work wonderfully here too.
- 6 - 8 ounce fresh fish filets, skinned
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme, leaves only
- 18 slices of a high quality smoked bacon, pounded to a uniform thinness if needed
- 2 large bunches of asparagus, root ends trimmed
- Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/4 cup good quality store bought mayonnaise (such as Hellman's)
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
- Season the fish fillets with the rosemary or thyme, finely grated lemon zest and freshly ground pepper – you don’t need to use salt because you should get enough saltiness from the smoked bacon.
- Lay 3 slices of bacon on a cutting board, slightly overlapping, then put a seasoned fish fillet on top and wrap the slices around it.
- Heat a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium flame, add a splash of olive oil and lay your fish, prettiest side facing up (with the seams from the bacon slices facing down, in the pan. Fry for a minute or two, then place the pan in your preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until the bacon is crisp and golden.
- While the fish is cooking, you can make your simple lemon mayonnaise by mixing in a nice amount of lemon juice and freshly ground pepper. You want to add enough lemon juice to make the flavour slightly too strong, because when you eat it with the asparagus and the fish, it will lessen slightly in intensity.
- Simply serve the fish next to a nice pile of asparagus, drizzled with the lemony mayonnaise and accompanied by the rice or potato side of your choice.