Panfried Blue Cod on Buttered Leeks with a scattering of Crisp Bacon

11:20 pm on 13 August 2007

The sweet, salty, crispness of bacon provides a perfect finishing touch for the gentle flavours of blue cod, buttered leeks and parsley. To serve, spoon the leeks onto warmed plates and lean the pieces of cod on the leeks. Scatter the bacon over both. Accompany with steamed jasmine rice or crusty bread. These quantities serve two people.

Crisp Bacon

Ingredients

  • 2-4 rashers streaky bacon, shaved or thinly sliced (I use Beehive streaky shaved bacon)
  • splash peanut oil

Method

Cut the bacon across into slivers and put in a medium sized heavy frying pan with a splash of peanut oil. Fry over low to medium heat until the slivers of bacon are very crisp. Remove pan from heat and use a fish slice to remove the bacon and place on paper towels to drain. Set the pan aside so that it will be ready for frying the fish later.

Buttered Leeks

Ingredients

  • 2 slender leeks
  • good knob of  butter
  • salt and pepper
  • splash of cream
  • lots of freshly chopped parsley

Method

Cut off the toughest of the leek leaves and pull off the outer layer. Slit the leeks down the middle and put in a sink of cold water, wash well, making sure that there is no mud hiding between the layers. Put the leeks on a chopping board and cut across into 2 cm sections. Transfer leeks and the water clinging to them to a heavy saucepan and add a knob of butter and a little salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and put over gentle heat for a few minutes until the leeks are fork-tender but still bright green. There should be almost no liquid in the bottom of the saucepan. Add a splash of cream and set aside while you cook the fish. When ready to serve, reheat gently, adding lots of freshly chopped parsley.

Pan Fried Blue Cod

Ingredients

  • 2 blue cod fillets, (or tarakihi or butterfish)
  • seasoned flour for dusting
  • splash of peanut oil
  • dab of butter
  • squeeze of lemon

Method

Cut the blue cod fillets into 3 - 4 pieces. Put seasoned flour on a plate, or in a plastic bag and lightly dust the fish in it. Add a little more peanut oil to the frying pan used for the bacon and a dab of butter. Put over high heat and when the butter foams add the pieces of fish. Fry on one side until golden brown on the bottom and showing translucence at the edges. Turn over and lower the heat, or turn the heat off if the pieces of fish are thin. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fish and leave to coddle in the gentle heat until only just cooked.

Wines from Stephen Morris

The delicacy of blue cod often makes me head to sauvignon blanc - is there a better summer lunch than panfried fish, chips, salad, good mayo and a glass of savvy?

But, with the bacon and the butter leeks and with the temperartures not really being tropical (not even in Auckland!), I recommend chardonnay.

Clearview Estate Unwooded Chardonnay 2006 is full and rich with big juicy fruit, without being over the top - probably around the $25 mark. If you're having mashed potato and like your chardonnay fleshier, try the Montana 'O' Ormond Chardonnay 2004 ($30-35) or Coopers Creek 'Swamp Road' Chardonnay 2006 ($30-35). Both are full, rich, creamy, and deep - chardonnay for chardonnay drinkers.

In this day and age of pisco-vegetarians, I'm sure there are people who will omit the bacon from this recipe. Without that added smokiness, head to lighter, crisper wines - still chardonnay to butter up the leeks, but not full-noise ones. Try Hatton Estate 'ec2' Chardonnay 2006 or Blackbarn Unoaked 2006 (both about the $20 mark).

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