Ok….now that y'all know how to make polenta fries, how about taking a crack at this superb fish dish to serve them along side. The mushroom "sauce" may strike some of you as a little heavy-handed, especially given the delicacy of the cod I served it over but trust me, this is a surf and turf combo made in heaven.
It turns out that the umami richness of the sauteed mushrooms are the perfect foil for the light, flaky fish. Of course, that contrast is what the famed surf and turf pairings are all about and let's face it, it's hard to come by a richer, earthier partner than the mushroom. When you take into account that the mushrooms cost but a fraction of a well marbled steak, and are so much healthier for you, this dish is a total no-brainer. For me, the key to this pairing is making sure that the mushrooms end up VERY well caramelized. To do this hit them with a lot of heat and leave them be, trying not to stir them very often. Once one side of each slice is well browned, give the pan a quick shake to toss the mushrooms, then let them sit again. Only after they are finished browning do you want to lower the heat, add the garlic, then the vermouth, vinegar etc.
I used cod in this dish because it is my most abundant local fish….hey, I can look out of my windows and literally see CAPE COD. If cod is harder to come by for you, feel free to substitute any other flaky, white fish such as mahi-mahi, sea bass, haddock, or even halibut. I served this up with some polenta fries, but the fish would be equally delicious served with a rice pilaf or your favorite mashed spuds.
Cheers – Steve
- 4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 10 ounces white or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth
- 4 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
- 4 - 6 ounce, skinless cod filets
for the polenta recipe, click HERE
- In a heavy 12 - inch skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring only occasionally, until well browned, 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat slightly, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and fragrant, about a minute. Add the vermouth, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, the vinegar, salt, and pepper and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, lightly season the cod with salt and pepper and add it to the pan, nesting the filets into the mushrooms and spooning some over the top.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the fish is just cooked through (use the tip of a paring knife to check), 7 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of your filets. With a slotted spatula, transfer the fish to the serving plates or a platter. Over low heat, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon butter into the sauce. Taste for seasoning, then spoon the sauce over the filets and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley.