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Andalusian Cod Steaks (Bacalao Andaluz) UPDATED

Andalusian Cod

This recipe is for those of us trying to come up with different fish recipes for Lent rather than the old standbys of tuna casserole or fish sticks. But also don't forget that we are all meant to be eating three portions of fish a week for health anyway. The lovely blend of flavors in this dish should help persuade some more of you to eat fish. I find that 5-6 oz fish with vegetables is an ample portion for most adults.

I like to buy the frozen 'Polar' fish in Market Basket since it is frozen at source in the Arctic on factory ships and doesn't smell or taste strong. If fish smells fishy, then it normally isn't fresh which is why so many people don't like fish. Feel free to use other fish such as swordfish or even salmon for a change. I have one student who doesn't think a recipe is complete without wine and plenty of clients that like me to cook with wine. Remember that the alcohol cooks out leaving just the added flavor so only use a wine you like the flavor of to start with. And it doesn't have to be the most expensive bottle in the cupboard!

Ingredients- 4 Portions

1¼ lb. boneless, skinless cod or haddock - thawed (I prefer the frozen, imported Norwegian cod or Haddock from Market Basket at about $3.50 / lb.)

Sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ½ c 1% milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley - optional
Topping
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 green pepper or half a small red, green and yellow pepper just for contrasts, cut in strips
  • 12 grape tomatoes washed and left whole
  • ½ c mushrooms, sliced - about 4-6 mushrooms
  • grated rind of ¼ to ½ lemon

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Sauce: this is an easy way of making a small quantity of sauce. Instead of a small pan on the stove I use a glass jug in the microwave.

Put olive oil or butter, flour and milk in 2 c microwave jug. Stand jug on a microwave safe plate in the microwave. Microwave for 1 minute, remove, whisk mix, microwave for another minute.

Depending on the wattage of your microwave (mine is 1200 w) you can need more or less time for the sauce to thicken. It will also start rising and bubbling up the sides of the jug trying to overflow (that's why you stand the jug on a plate - it's quicker to wash a plate than the floor or turntable of the microwave.)
  • Keep an eye through the door of the microwave and remove and whisk to deflate sauce.
  • When the sauce has thickened add salt and pepper, parsley and sherry.
  • At this stage the sauce will taste a bit boring.
  • Pour sauce into 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic dish or equivalent and spread out.
3. Cut fish into 4 pieces and arrange on top of sauce.

4. Topping: Heat the oil in a small pan and fry onion until browning without burning. Add garlic and peppers and cook until softened about 3-5 minutes.

5. Add mushrooms and cook until just softening.

6. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper if you want and mix well. Stir in grated rind of lemon. Remove from heat. Rind of of a lemon for a light lemon taste, rind for burst of lemon flavor. I love rind of a lemon.

7. Spread vegetable mixture on top of fish. Cover with foil or dish cover.

8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 - 25 minutes until fish is just white in the center and flakes easily. If you poke into center of fish, it should look solidly white not watery colored white. But you should also see juices in the fish. If not you have overcooked fish.

9. Remove from oven and serve with potatoes or crusty bread.

Think of variations
You know the recipe works so vary it with your favorite combinations. Instead of milk sauce use half stock and half wine. Use your favorite marinara sauce or left over Alfredo or sauce from mac and cheese (or even bought marinara or Alfredo.) Try different pesto sauces - instead of original basil pesto make sun dried tomato pesto or roasted red pepper pesto. In England I used to make fish with a mild, creamy curry sauce.

Vegetables
Take the vegetable topping as a guideline. Leave out mushrooms if you don't like them, use just onions, garlic, zucchini and yellow squash. Try caramelized onions and asparagus- perhaps with orange rind instead of lemon, top with some toasted hazelnuts. Use a mix of exotic mushrooms and onions. Try onions and sliced broccoli and cauliflower with a cheese sauce. Broccoli and cauliflower taste amazing when they are partially cooked as in recipe and then roasted in oven. Whatever vegetable combination you choose, make sure you partially cook the vegetables in the pan first as the recipe says, otherwise they won't be tender enough for eating.



PLEASE NOTE THAT SUBSTITUTIONS AND DIFFERENT METHODS WILL AFFECT FINAL TASTE.
© 2005 Royal Temptations

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Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.
 
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