Though cod is not a fish found in the Mediterranean, Italians consume large quantities of it dried (called stoccafisso), and salted (called baccalà). In Venice, baccalà, creamed and spread on bread, is one of the most common and popular appetizers.
Codfish cakes are traditionally made with salt cod, which needs a day or more of soaking to soften and desalinate the fish. For the most part, though, salt cod has gone out of style, at least in North America. It’s too bad since there are so many wonderful Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French dishes that feature it.
A simple solution is to use a light cure which gives the fish the seasoning it needs. It also helps keep the flesh firm when cooked and gives the cakes a moist texture. See the instructions below.
Sicilian Codfish Cakes
1 lb of cod fillets
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
Olive oil, for frying
Curing the fish
Season cod fillet all over with the salt and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Boil and mash the potatoes and set them aside.
Rinse the codfish briefly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Cooking the cod
Fill a saucepan with water. Add a thyme sprig and a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Carefully slip fish into the water and turn off the heat. Wait 3 minutes and test with a fork; the fish should be just done. Drain fish and let cool, then transfer to a mixing bowl and flake.
Mix the flaked fish, the potatoes, parsley, cheese, garlic, onion, pepper andeggs together well by hand. Form into 4-6 patties and place them on a sheet of waxed paper.
Dredge the patties in panko crumbs, pressing them into the fish cakes. Refrigerate for several hours.
Heat enough oil in a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry the fish cakes until brown on the bottom,2-3 minutes and turn the cakes over and fry 2-3 minutes more.
Roasted Butternut Squash Noodles
12 oz pkg. frozen butternut squash spirals, defrosted
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400*.F
Let the noodles drain in a colander and then place them on a kitchen towel. Gently squeeze out some of the water. Toss the noodles with the avocado or olive oil and spread out on a sheet pan in a single layer.
Transfer to the oven, and roast the squash until tender and al dente, about 10 minutes, stirring the noodles halfway through.
Remove the butternut squash noodles from the over and season with salt and pepper.and serve immediately.
Cucumbers in Dilled Sour Cream
Half of an English cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 whole scallions, chopped
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine sour cream, scallions, vinegar, sugar, and dill in a mixing bowl. Add cucumber slices and toss to coat. Let salad stand for at least 5 minutes before serving, or chill for up to one day.
Serve with pasta.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced pancetta
1/4 cup minced fresh onion
2 red chili peppers, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz can of Italian whole cherry tomatoes (Cento brand)
1/4 cup sliced green olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons capers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 canned anchovy fillet, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
4 slices provolone cheese
Salt and pepper
8 oz fettuccine
Make the sauce
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the pancetta onion, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta al dente and drain.
For the chicken
Coat the chicken cutlets in flour, salt, and pepper. Shake off excess. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the cutlets about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. Top each cutlet with a slice of cheese and cover the pan. Cook for a minute or two until the cheese melts.
Mix the cooked pasta with the sauce. Place an equal portion of pasta in four individual pasta bowls. Top with the chicken and serve.
Oven Roasted Zucchini
Two large Zucchini sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Coat the foil with olive oil cooking spray.
Place zucchini rounds in a bowl. Add oil and spices to the bowl and toss zucchini to coat.
Lay zucchini on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
Steak Au Poivre
2 petite rib-eye steaks, 14-16 oz total
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 minced shallot
2 thyme sprigs
1 medium clove garlic, cut in half
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
¼ cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Lightly pound the steaks with a meat mallet to an even thickness, ½ inch thick.
Season steaks all over with kosher salt. Set on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and allow to air-dry, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Crack peppercorns into rough halves and quarters. You can use a pepper mill set to its coarsest setting (though not all pepper mills will crack coarsely enough); or, perhaps best, a large mallet, meat pounder, or skillet to crush them (wrap the peppercorns in a clean kitchen towel first to contain them).
Spread cracked peppercorns and firmly press one side of each steak into the pepper to encrust it in an even layer. Set each steak aside, peppercorn side up. Reserve any remaining cracked peppercorns. (Exactly how much pepper adheres will depend on the dimensions of the steaks. You should have some pepper remaining, but if not, you can crack more to completely coat one side of each steak.)
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add steaks, peppercorn side down, and cook until peppercorns are well toasted about 3 minutes. Carefully turn steaks, trying not to break the peppercorn crust. Add butter, thyme, and garlic and cook, basting steaks with a spoon, until steaks are well seared on the second side. Remove from heat and place the steaks on serving plates.
Discard garlic and thyme. Add butter, shallot and any reserved cracked peppercorns, return to medium heat and cook, stirring until shallot is tender about 2 minutes.
Add broth and bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in cream, then simmer, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced enough to glaze a spoon. Whisk in mustard. Pour the sauce over the steaks and serve.
Oven Roasted Potatoes
3 pounds small yellow potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400° F (200°C).
Cut the potatoes in half and put them in a bowl. Toss with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.
Transfer to a large enough sheet pan or baking dish and spread out the potatoes in one layer, cut side down.
Take them out of the oven and toss with parsley before serving.
Green Beans With Mushrooms And Almonds
1pound trimmed green beans
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 whole scallion, thinly sliced white and green parts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds
Blanch green beans for 5 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain and dry on a clean kitchen towel.
Place a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and unsalted butter. Add mushrooms and saute until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sliced scallions, saute 1 minute more. Add green beans and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan to a serving bowl and finish with 1/2 cup toasted almonds. Toss and serve.