(Nov. 1, 2018) Sometimes I’m so distracted by the world around me that I find it difficult to find new ideas for this column, or whatever else that’s needed to go forward.
I get so consumed by the actual news that I just want to eat whatever is at hand and create instant comfort, like a good piece of toasted bread slathered with butter and either a spoonful of jam made with strawberries or apricots, a little bowl of extra-fruity olive oil and flaky sea salt for dipping, or a good piece of cheese.
Very often chocolate in any form – a bar or a hot drink – is a temporary balm. Please don’t misinterpret my words as hopelessness. Instead, it’s a distraction.
I decided to randomly open some of my at-arms-length cookbooks and choose the recipe on the page where I landed to include here. The books were among the latest arrivals to my collection and interestingly, the haphazardly-chosen pages came up with recipes perfectly suited to this season.
Crispy Cod and Roasted Potatoes with Hollandaise Sauce
This one is mine, inspired by a recipe that popped up when I opened “My Lisbon” by Nuno Mendes (Ten Speed Press, 2018). The recipe that I landed on was a confit of cod tossed with crispy potatoes and eggs. I deconstructed it a bit to come up with this dish, good for brunch or dinner.
1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons rice flour, or Wondra
1 pound cod, thick end, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 pound butter, melted
Fresh chervil leaves, or flat leaf parsley
1. Heat the oven to 450 F.
2. Place the potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet with sides. Add the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat the potatoes. Bake until the potatoes are deep gold and crispy, 20-30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add the canola oil to a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is warming up, place the rice flour on a dinner plate with a sprinkle of salt. Drench the cod pieces in the flour.
4. Fry the cod, turning once or twice until all sides are golden.
5. While the cod is frying, add the eggs, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt to an upright blender. Blend until the eggs are pale yellow. Then pour in the melted butter and blend until a creamy sauce is achieved. Taste for seasoning and add as desired.
6. To serve, place the cod pieces on individual plates and generously nap with the Hollandaise sauce. You don’t have to use all of the sauce. It can be refrigerated for up to a week, then reheated in a water bath. Place a portion of roasted potatoes alongside the fish. Garnish with chervil leaves, my first choice as they love eggs and highlight their flavor.
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