Pistachio-Crusted Cod with Crispy Fennel
Osteria Mattone, Roswell, GA
Cod is a delicate fish. So the less you can handle it during the cooking process, the better.
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted room temperature butter
1/2 cup chopped unsalted toasted pistachios
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of half a lemon
Cannellini Bean Purée:
One 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans
1/2 cup chicken stock, plus extra for puréeing
Salt to taste
1 small bulb fennel
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
5 lemons, juiced
1/2-pint deli container or an appropriately sized container with a tight-fitting lid
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Four 6-ounce cod fillets
Make the pistachio crust: in a bowl, mix together all ingredients until combined. Once they are fully incorporated, spoon the mixture onto parchment or wax paper and as neatly as you can, shape the mixture into a cylinder, wrapping it tightly in the parchment paper. Immediately place the butter into your fridge to firm up. Makes: ¾ cup
Make the cannellini bean purée: drain the beans into a strainer and rinse them thoroughly. Place the beans in a medium-sized pot and add 1/2 cup chicken stock to just barely cover the beans. Bring the liquid to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Using a ladle, transfer the beans and liquid into a blender and purée until smooth. If your blender is straining and the mixture is too thick, add some reserved chicken stock. The purée should move freely in the blender with just a slight vortex forming at the top. Season your purée with salt to taste.
Make the crispy fennel: using a mandolin, finely shave the fennel. The closest to translucent you can get, the better. In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan heat the olive oil over low heat. (Note: you want enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan generously. We are trying to achieve a very shallow deep fry.) Get the oil nice and hot to the point where you see it begin to become fluid but not smoking. (If you are unsure drop one piece of fennel in to test the oil.) Add the shaved fennel in a single layer across the pan and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the fennel with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel–lined plate. Season the fennel immediately after removing it from the oil with salt to taste.
Make the lemon schiuma: all those deli containers you save are finally coming to good use! Place the lemon juice in the container and seal it with the lid. Shake the juice until there’s a nice froth on top, about 1 to 2 minutes. When you’re ready to serve, use a soup spoon to skim the foam off the top. (Note: you can re-shake the juice as needed.)
Prepare the cod: preheat the oven to 400°F. Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Coat a baking sheet with the olive oil and place your seasoned filets far enough apart so that they can easily be removed without destroying the neighboring cod. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Just before you remove the cod from the oven, take your firm pistachio–butter mixture and slice it into 1/4-inch disks. Place 1 disk of the butter onto each piece of fish and place in the oven until the butter melts and bastes the fish in its nutty goodness.
To serve, spread a generous spoonful of the cannellini purée in the center of each of the 4 plates. Place the pistachio-crusted cod on top and a handful of the crispy fennel next to the fish. Shake your lemon juice vigorously and spoon the foam on top of the fish. Wow your friends.