Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Panko Crusted Cod with Two-Tone Potatoes

Eating dinner together at the table has always been incredibly important to my family.  For as long as I can remember, sitting down to dinner has always been a priority.  Even during middle school when my travel soccer stage overlapped with my brother's early career on stage, we were never a family that grabbed fast food to eat in the car.  It was always home-cooked, and at worst we ate in shifts.  Shopping and cooking was always balanced between my mom and dad.  And my dad isn't one of those microwave-dinner doesn't-know-how-to-boil-an-egg dad's either.  Not only can he cook, but he puts a lot of thought into what flavors  he wants or mood he wants to convey, and then creates meals inspired by them.  Since I've been home, I've kind of taken over the grocery shopping and dinner preparation (partly due to my intense need to have control over most aspects of my daily life).  I mean, it's not like I don't take their wants into consideration - I get their input and most of the time call from the grocery store for their advice and decision making skills, but the physical acts are usually done by me.
Dad's Notes on Dinner.
Except for days like today.  Today I drove up to my alma mater to visit an old friend in town for the week, and didn't get back until later this evening.  When I got home, my dad already had dinner in his head and in the works.  Tonight, I was merely a sous chef.  Chopping, sauteing, and following the direction and vision of the head chef.  This recipe is a brain child of my father, with my only culinary involvement being the addition of basil and lime.

Panko Crusted Cod with Two-Tone Potatoes

2 tbs olive oil
2 medium carrots, minced
1 medium sweet onion, minced
3 small celery stalks, minced
½ cup basil, chopped
2 large white potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 tbs garlic, minced
12 tbs butter
½ cup milk, slightly warmed
2 filets (or 1½ lbs) cod
1 lime, juice and zest
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees.  
+ Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring the potatoes and water to a boil, cook until fork tender.
+ In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, onion, celery and basil.  Cook on high until the mirepoix becomes fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent the veggies from sticking.  Turn heat down to load and let cook, stirring occasionally.
+ While the mirepoix is cooking down, cover the bottom of a large baking dish with panko.  Melt 8 tbs of butter in a large bowl.  Dunk the filets of cod in the melted butter and then place them in the baking dish.  Cover the tops of the fish with panko.  Top with lime zest and juice.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.
+ Once the potatoes are soft, drain and separate the white and sweet potatoes into two large bowls.  Add 2 tbs butter and ¼ cup milk to each, adding the garlic to the white potatoes only.  Mash until smooth, adding milk if needed to obtain desired consistency.  
+ Line a small baking dish with parchment paper.  Place mash potatoes into zip-locked baggies, cutting one corner of each to make a piping bag of sorts.  Pipe small circles of potato onto the parchment, layering white and sweet potatoes on top of each other.  
+ In the last moments of the fish cooking, turn the oven to broil and put the potatoes on a rack above the fish.  Watch carefully, as you want the top of the potatoes to brown slightly.
+ Serve mirepoix over cod with potatoes garnished with a sprig of basil on the side.

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