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Cod, part III

(post, Roz Cummins)

This week we had our third delivery from Cape Ann Fresh Catch. It was raining cats and dogs, which made the usually fun adventure of going to get the fish a whole lot less fun and a whole lot more of an adventure. (And to the guy who drove into the parking space that I was backing into and said that he felt entitled to do so because I "wasn't backing into it fast enough" (!) all I can say is that I hope that you have some time to reflect upon whether that was really the best way to deal with that situation. Talk about Bad Car-ma!)

At our second delivery, I chose cod over flounder or whiting because I wanted to get my cod filleting technique down (which I feel that I have) so I was resolved to get whatever else was on offer when I went to pick up this delivery. Only this time, cod was the only choice. I got one that had rigor mortis (my other two had not been stiff) and I actually found it a lot more difficult to work with because it had gotten stiff in a position where its head was arched way back, i.e., there was a marked bend in the middle of the fish's body. I reflected on the fact that whether or not my dinner has entered rigor mortis is something that I don't think I have ever had to deal with before, or at least not in a this-is-happening-right-here-right-now kind of way.

I filleted the fish and made a dish that my cousin Candace had prepared the last time I had dinner at her house. It's based on a recipe from Ina Garten's book Back to Basics. All I could remember was that it involved creme fraiche, mustard - both grainy and Dijon - and capers. It is a funny feeling not to know what fish you're getting until you get to the pick-up point as it makes it hard to plan and shop, so I always just end up shopping on the way home from the pick-up. 

I had trouble filleting the fish due to the bend in its body, and I ended up with several small pieces instead of the big fillets I've gotten off the fish in the past. I laid them in a baking dish and mixed the sauce ingredients according to my own taste since I didn't have a copy of the recipe handy. I put the fish in the oven and as it baked it filled the kitchen with a fantastic savory aroma.

The cod was delicious as always, and the sauce was incredibly flavorful and satisfying without being too rich, which was nice. I wished I had made rice to go with it to soak it up.

I am curious to see what fish we get next week, and if it's cod again I might go back to the simple butter and lemon version just because it's so good that it's hard to improve upon, or perhaps I will make a tomato-based stew. I might try cutting it into steaks too, just to see what that's like.

Tune in next week when I discover what fish is about to enter my life and how I will cook it... It's sort of like living in a culinary knock-knock joke - who's there? Cod! Cod who? Um... Cod in a Tomato-based Stew? I'll let you know what happens...