Ocean State Cod

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Pistachio Crusted Cod

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the fish:
2 9oz. Fresh Cod Filet
1.5 cup unsalted pistachios
½ cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup heavy cream
1 oz. prepared horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.
2 cloves sliced garlic
1 bunch of scallions chopped fine
1 pint red cherry tomatoes
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth
3 tbsp. Butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dry oregano
¼ bunch fresh flat Italian parsley chopped

Preparation For the fish:
In a mixing bowl mix the heavy cream and horseradish and salt and pepper.
Grind the pistachio’s coarse and mix with the bread crumbs. Dip the cod into the cream mixture and then into the pistachio mixture to form a nice crust.
In a sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and brown both sides of the cod. Put the cod aside and start with the sauce.
In a sauté pan heat the olive oil, then add the garlic, scallions, and halved cherry tomatoes. Sauté for a minute until the garlic starts to brown, then add the white wine, chicken broth, butter, salt and pepper and oregano.
At this time bake the fish at 400 degrees for about 5 to 6 minutes or until done. Add the fresh parsley to the sauce. When the fish is done put the sauce over the fish and serve.
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By Lisa Helme and Julia Molino
A theme you may have noticed in this month’s issue of Coastal Angler is that August is truly a multi-species month. Fluke was the fish of the moment last month, particularly with the great tournaments going on throughout the Ocean State, and now striped bass seems to be is on the hit parade. But as the savvy angler knows, August is the month of surprises. And to our surprise, we hear that cod, usually fished in fall and winter, are chipping off the Block right now–literally, off the coast of Block Island. Say what? Maybe stripers or summer flounder, but cod?

Yep, we’re told by old-timers that in August anything goes. It is truly a feast of plenty, and cod are no exception. With the bonus of having no closed season for recreational cod fishing, it’s game on for cod fishermen! And what a game it is…keep it quiet, Anglers, but we’ve heard there is a nice pop of cod currently going on around Coxes Ledge. Guess the bottom of the ocean, even during August in RI, is still plenty cold for cod this year.

Cod, as every Rhody knows, is an Ocean State favorite–from beer battered to fisherman’s stew. But did you know that cod also has a long and noble history? It is a hardy and plentiful fish, having survived commercial and recreational fishing on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. But it is the highly prized Atlantic Cod that even wars have been fought over trying to maintain fishing and trading rights. During feast or famine for centuries, families, adventurers and even navies have been sustained on cod, particularly in its dried form, the world’s oldest known form of food preservation. To this day, dried and salted cod is a family staple in Scandinavian, African and Caribbean cuisine, particularly in Jamaica, where it is considered the national dish when mixed with the Ackee fruit, originally imported from West Africa.

Rehydrated with water and cooked with onions and whipped potatoes, dried salted cod is known as brandade in France, or braised with juicy tomatoes and capers as bacala in Italy, and both are turning up on American menus. Salt cod is delicious, but there’s nuttin’ better than fresh cod from RI waters, as Chef Alan Lemire of our own Narragansett Inn on Block Island proves with his Pistachio encrusted cod.

Chef Al proves that cod isn’t just for fish fries anymore. While cod is certainly the fish of choice for our famous New England Fish and Chips and it is often seen on local fish house menus in sandwiches, soups and even fish tacos, Chef Al is bringing the humble cod front and center–to the middle of the plate–as an unusual entree, and to prime time–in the midst of summer–when cod is not as often thought of as it is in the fall and winter months when other fish are scarcer in Rhode Island. And to make this fish tale all the more interesting, Chef Al uses only local and sustainable fish in his cooking, so even with this year’s heat wave, cod are still being found on the menu at the seasonal Narragansett Inn–open only from June through early September. While his competitors might be serving striped bass, blues or even trout, Chef Al says, “I want to preserve the fish that are less plentiful than cod.”

After tasting Chef Al’s Pistachio-Crusted Cod, we have no complaints with his sentiment! On an especially beautiful evening following terrible weather endured by the sailing teams for Block Island Race Week, we sat on the porch at the Narragansett Inn, watching the last of the sailors decamp. Looking out over the water and pier while sipping cocktails, the scene was idilic and Chef Al’s menu tempted our taste buds. But after having had some superb sushi at The Oar for lunch, we weren’t sure about how much we could eat. We weren’t disappointed! Chef Al’s cod was light, flakey and just delicate enough for a summer evening.

We had the privilege of meeting Chef Al Lemire to thank him for his delicious dinner and we were surprised again (although it is August, the month of angler surprises!) when he presented us with the gift of one of his hand-made lures. Turns out that during the off-season Chef Al has a cottage industry making and selling beautiful hand carved lures. Distributed in bait shops along the coast where he sells them himself to owners, these lures are truly one-of-a-kind “angler art.” Also available at www.lemiresplugworks.com, these “plugs” as we anglers call them, are for big game fish, as seen here pulling in a 30-lb stripper. So whether you’re looking for some good fishin’ or some good eatin’, check out Chef Al’s works of art…you won’t be surprised by the quality!
For the complete Q and A with Chef Al of the Narragansett Inn, see our website at www.coatsalanglermagazine.com/rhodeisland/

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