Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grilled Pacific Cod with Bacon Vinaigrette, Red Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Butter-Thyme Mushrooms

I am trying to incorporate fish into my diet more often as it is so healthy, but I just haven’t been able to find many recipes that intrigued me … until now. This recipe (adapted from I Can Cook That) achieved my ultimate goal of eating healthy while having a satisfying and filling meal. The bacon vinaigrette had the perfect kick to it that went well with the fish as well as the potatoes and mushrooms. Being Irish, I can find a way to incorporate mashed potatoes into any meal, so that was added goodness to the meal. The mushrooms added meatiness to the meal that the fish lacked and absorbed the flavors of the shallots and thyme perfectly to give an earthy balance.
The original recipe called for Striped Bass, but they didn’t have it at my local Wegman’s (which is surprising considering it is native to New Jersey waters). Instead I used a Pacific Cod since it has a mild flavor and I thought this would be better for my carnivorous family’s introduction to fish.
I must say this was a complicated recipe – not because it was particularly hard or time consuming – but because it required serious multitasking. If you have a night where you can pour yourself a glass of white wine, put on good music and get down to cooking a great meal then this is the recipe for you!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serves 4

1.5 lbs of pacific cod (or 4 individual fillets)
salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 package center-cut bacon
3 large shallots, finely chopped and divided
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 large red potatoes
2 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 (8-ounce) packages pre-sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  1. Begin preparing your mashed potatoes. Peel the majority of the skin off each potato and slice into quarters. Boil the water. Place peeled potatoes into the boiling water, turn the temperature down to low and cover the potatoes for 30 minutes until they are fork tender.
  2. Chop the shallots and fresh thyme. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2/3 of the chopped shallots to the pan. Cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add your mushrooms and a ½ teaspoon of salt to the sauté pan stirring occasionally. Cook the mushrooms for about 13 minutes or until they are lightly browned and the majority of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. While waiting for your mushrooms to brown, start heating up another sauté pan and cook the bacon until it is crispy. Set aside in a paper towel for a few minutes and then crumble the bacon into small pieces for your vinaigrette. Make sure to save some of the bacon grease drippings for your vinaigrette (about 2 tablespoons).
  5. Return your crumbled bacon and the remaining 1/3 shallots back to your bacon sauté pan. Add the bacon grease and cook together for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove bacon sauté pan from the heat and start adding your vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar and black pepper. Stir frequently so the ingredients blend very well together. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the vinaigrette and let it emulsify. Taste the mixture to see if there is any ingredient you should add more to for the desired taste.
  7. Return to the mushrooms and add the ½ cup of dry white wine to the mixture. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the wine has mostly evaporated. Stir in the thyme.
  8. At this point your potatoes should be fork tender. Dump out the water and return the potatoes back to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the milk to the potatoes. Mash until they have a smooth texture adding more butter or milk if needed.
  9. Last but not least, the fish. Salt and pepper the fillets and add cooking spray to a grilling pan. Lay the fillets skin side up onto the grilling pan, and flip after 4 minutes. The fish should take a total of 8 minutes (4 minutes each side) to cook perfectly.
  10. Finally, it is time to eat! Add the fish, mushrooms and potatoes to your plate. Drizzle the fish and the mashed potatoes with the bacon vinaigrette.

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