Thyme Cod with Grilled Pears

January 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

E: This is another riff off of a recipe from Tom Colicchio’s book Think Like a Chef, which we got for Christmas from my cousin Kristina and her husband Patrick. The book has some really wonderful looking fish recipes, so we decided to do a simple pan-roasted thyme cod, based off his pan-roasted sea bass recipe. Though we couldn’t get the fish as crispy as the fish in the pictures in his book, the cooking technique shown here is a really great one, and results in fantastic flavors. It is definitely something we’ll use again (and we actually did make this again a few days later, using salmon instead of cod).

the result

We decided to pair our cod with some “grilled” pears and risotto-style wild rice. Feel free to use whatever you want. We thought everything was quite delicious, but make sure you give your wild rice time to cook. We didn’t start it early enough and that delayed us a bit. If you have an actual grill the pears will come out looking better, with some nice char on them. We cooked the pears in a grill pan (when it is winter you have to make do) in a little olive oil, and while they were incredibly tasty they weren’t the same as having actually been grilled.

What you need:

1 lb of firm-fleshed fish (we used cod, you could use sea bass, salmon, or something else entirely)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a few tablespoons of high-heat cooking oil (peanut is Colicchio’s suggestion, but we used canola)
1-2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper

2 pears
1 C. wild rice
2 C. (approx) chicken or vegetable stock
a splash of sherry or vermouth

If you are doing this with rice, definitely start that first. Nothing else takes nearly as much time. You can add the stock to the rice and cook you normally would. We decided to cook like risotto. Put the stock in a pot and heat it. Cook the rice dry for a few minutes until hot, and start adding stock and stirring as you would a risotto.

risotto style wild rice

Somewhere in there, add a splash of vermouth, wine, sherry, or something else of that nature. Add salt and pepper to taste, cook like risotto until the rice is tender, and that part is good-to-go.

While the rice is going, prepare the rest of the meal. Cut up your pears into quarters and remove the core. You can set these aside.

quartered pears

Prepare the fish by rinsing it off, de-boning if necessary, and patting it dry with paper towels. Let it warm up closer to room temperature. Cut the fish into 4 serving-size pieces.

When you are about 25 to 30 minutes or so away from being done with the rice, put the pears on the grill pan, brushed with some olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. If you have an actual grill, you can wait much longer for this.

When you are about 20 minutes away from being done with the rice, start the fish. Heat up some of your cooking oil in a skillet (we used nonstick, if you are feeling brave and can get the pan hot enough to keep the fish from sticking, you can use a bare-metal skillet). Be generous with the oil. I used about a tablespoon in a small pan.

If you are doing this in batches in a small pan, select the 2 pieces of fish you want to cook first. Otherwise use a larger pan and cook all four. Salt and pepper one side of each piece (the skin side if the skin is on) and lay that side down on the pan when the oil is shimmering but not smoking. Salt and pepper the other side while that side cooks.

sizzle but don't let it sputter, colicchio says!

Reduce heat so the oil is sizzling and cook for about 3 minutes or until the skin is crispy. I couldn’t get the skin to crisp, so after a few minutes I forged ahead. Next, flip the fish and lightly brown the other side.

Then, add 1/2 to 1 Tbsp. butter to the pan, and a few sprigs of thyme. Cook the fillets for a few more minutes (no more than 5) until the fish is opaque. Turn the pieces over occasionally during this time, and baste with the butter and oil.

Serve these right away if you can. You can use the rest of the butter and oil in the pan as a sauce for the fish, and sprinkle with some coarse sea salt if you like.

If you need to cook the last 2 pieces, keep the first 2 warm and get the last of the fish in the pan, repeating the same process as before.

Serve with the grilled pears, and the wild rice.

grilled pears just about done


the flavor from the fresh thyme is fantastic


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