A really simple, clean dish this one, inspired by what was available at the Ballard farmers market today.
As usual I made my food list for the week. This normally includes a large slab of cooking on Sunday, and some fast meals through the week, for when we get back from work. Often, I try and do something a little different mid-week to warrant another blog post.
So, list in hand, we walk off to the market. We like to park in Fremont and either walk or cycle in to Ballard to get our local produce for the week. Today was no exception – we thought a walk, not a ride, would be in order today. So, we get to the farmers market, and what do I find.. Well blimey, nothing I had on my list for tonight’s dinner was at the market. Odd, because I had seen some of the stuff at a market before, but hey bitching about it ain’t going to cure the fact that what I wanted vegetable-wise for tonight wasn’t there. Sod it.
Only one thing can obviously be done – take a walk around and see what is looking good, and what is inspiring.
Well, Full Circle Farm had these amazing little tiny beets. I can never pass up a decent roasted beet, so I picked up a few handfuls. Another place (that I forget the name of) had some just darling little baby russet potatoes, which I figured would work rather nicely with the beets. To top it off, the place also had dandelion leaves available too. I snatched those up too. I also grabbed some fingerlings, and some baby leeks for the week.
So what to do with all this stuff. Well, the beets were set – a simple roast job with a few herbs, and job done. The potatoes, I decided to part-boil, then pan-fry in some olive oil and butter, and finish with a little truffle oil.
Truffle oil and potato is something that I am just in love with. I cannot help it. As soon as a potato is cooked, I have to sprinkle on some sea-salt, and toss it all in a little white truffle oil. The truffle just adds the great earthiness of the potato. This would obviously work rather well with beets too – hence why they potatoes are mixed in with the beets here.
This all gets topped with a lovely fillet of fresh Alaskan Black Cod, just lightly broiled.
What works here is the play of bitter and sweet. Dandelion leaves are slightly bitter. This gets wonderfully offset by the beets, and the slightly sweet flesh of the black cod.
This was a pretty effortless meal to be honest. Not bad for lazy Sunday afternoon, after trekking a few miles with Drakey on my back.
Broiled black cod, roasted beets and baby russet potatoes, sauteed dandelion greens
1lb black cod fillet
2 handfuls of beets – preferably small
2 handfuls of baby russet potatoes
1 bunch (4 plants?) of dandelion greens – roots trimmed off
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic – thinly sliced
a few sprigs of thyme and oregano
Turn your oven onto 400F. Scrub the beets to remove most of the dirt. Place the beets in a roasting pan. add a little water and olive oil to the pan. Throw in the herbs. Cover with foil, and put in the oven. The size of your beets is going to determine how long they take to cook. These small ones took about 40 minutes. Larger ones will take over an hour. You know they are cooked when you stab one with a knife and it offers little resistance.
Whilst these are roasting, wash your potatoes. Put them in a pot of cold water, and bring it to the boil. Boil the potatoes until pretty much cooked. Again, the size of your potatoes makes the difference here in time. Whilst these are cooking, prepare an ice bath. When they are cooked through, take the potatoes out, and put them straight into the ice bath, to stop their cooking further. Leave them in there for at least 5 minutes. When they are cold, remove them from the water and drain.
We have done this because this dish is a little hard to time – with roasting the beets, boiling the potatoes, and broiling the fish. We have somewhat removed the potatoes from the equation.
Cut your cod fillet into two pieces. Brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When your beets are done, remove them from the oven, and let them cool slightly. Whilst still hot (as hot as you can handle), use a cloth to rub off the skin from each beet. Cut off the stalk end, then cut the beet in half lengthwise. Do this for each beet.
Turn your oven onto broil. Wrap up the beets up in some foil, and place them in the bottom of the oven to stay warm.
Put your black cod into a roasting pan, flesh side up, and get it under the broiler. You want to make sure that you keep the fish far enough away from the element so that it gently cooks through, and as it does browns the top of the fish. If you find the fish is cooking too fast, then move it down a rack. Cooking too slow? get it right under the element.
The fish will most likely take about 15 minutes. We aren’t going to flip it under the broiler.
When the fish has about ten minutes to go, heat a large saute pan, and put a thin slice of a stick of butter in it, and a splash of olive oil. When nice and hot, throw in the potatoes. We are frying them to make the skin a bit crispy, and heat them back through. Every couple of minutes shake the pan to make sure all sides are browning.
In another saute pan, add a splash of olive oil, and about a tablespoon of butter. When this is hot, throw in the garlic and the dandelion greens. Keep these moving around. They will wilt down quickly. When they are wilted, and slightly tender to the bite they are done.
Time for plating!! Sprinkle the potatoes with a little sea salt and a small splash (I mean small..) of white truffle oil. Toss to combine. Remove the beets from the oven, and mix with the potatoes.
Arrange half of these in the center of a plate. Top with half of the dandelion greens. Finally top with a fillet of the black cod, which should now be cooked through a flaky to the touch.
Repeat with your second plate.