Pan seared lingcod with a ramp & spring vegetable sauté, and mustard-anchovy vinaigrette
A sauté of spring vegetables finished with the piquant flavors of lemon, Dijon mustard and anchovy is the perfect accompaniment to lingcod, or other firm-fleshed white fish like black cod and halibut.
I found young, tender broccoli and small new potatoes in the market when I developed this recipe, but feel free to choose your springtime favorites--asparagus, broccolini, spinach and kale are all good options--for the sauté. Be sure to separate the green and white parts of the ramp, as they take different amounts of time to soften. And if you can't find ramps, substitute green or spring onions.
When cooking the fish, the key to success (a firm, golden brown crust) lies in three details: starting with a dry piece of fish, adding enough oil to the pan, and getting it hot enough to form a golden crust.
To ensure that the fish and the vegetable sauté are ready at the same time, boil the potatoes ahead, in salted water until they are almost tender. The vinaigrette should be made ahead as well.
Makes 4 servings
2 medium stalks (about 1 pound) broccoli
1 pound small yellow or red new potatoes.
12 ramps or green onions
1 bulb fennel, outside peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rings
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated on a micro-plane
4 five to six-ounce lingcod filets or other firm-fleshed white fish such as halibut or black cod
1/2 cup olive, grapeseed, safflower or other cooking oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
First, prepare the vegetables for the sauté. If the broccoli stalk is especially thick or tough, peel it with a vegetable peeler before cutting the heads into long pieces with both stem and floret attached. Set aside.
Put a pot of water on for the potatoes. Salt it generously and cut any potatoes larger than an inch in diameter in half. Cook the potatoes in the gently boiling water for 8 to 12 minutes, or until a knife or skewer can be inserted easily. Strain the potatoes and set them aside to cool at room temperature.
Separate the white and green portions of the ramps or green onions. If the white end is thick, cut it in half lengthwise so that it will take the same amount of time to cook as the other ingredients.
Pat the fish fillets dry and season them on both sides with salt. Put 2 large pans over high heat, on either the stovetop or a grill. Add the cooking oil to the pan in which you'll cook the fish.
Wait until just before the oil reaches the smoke point, then carefully place the fish fillets to the pan, skin side up. Cook on one side until a golden brown crust is formed and the fish releases from the pan with ease, 3 to 5 minutes. When there is a nice crust, carefully turn the fillets over and brown them on the other side, cooking until the flesh is just set, 3 to 5 more minutes.
Put the broccoli, white of the ramps and fennel in a bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Add the vegetables to the pan, or the grill, and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and color, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and ramp greens to the pan, along with most of the vinaigrette and a little bit more salt. Toss to combine and take the pan off of the heat while continuing to toss or stir the ingredients.
To serve, arrange the vegetable saute in the center of each of 4 plates. Place the cooked fish on top and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the fish and around the vegetables. Serve immediately.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 anchovy filet, rinsed and finely minced, or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
Finely chopped zest and juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk the mustard and anchovy together. Add the lemon juice and zest, followed by the olive oil in a slow drizzle as you whisk. Season with salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.