Saturday, February 5, 2011

Panko Crusted Cod with Sweet Pea Risotto

I haven't cooked fish for a while.  Mostly because I haven't been cooking much at all but also because I haven't been finding very good prices on fish lately.  Finally yesterday I couldn't take it anymore and needed something to eat other than chicken or vegetables (I cook pork and beef for my family but I do not eat it).  I headed out and found some cod at a decent price at a local market.  I read a couple of recipes online and then decided to do my own thing with the topping.  To be honest, if I could do it over, I wouldn't have used cod.  In my husbands words, "the topping is great but the fish itself doesn't even taste like anything." I had to agree with him, and would use a fish like tilapia or flounder in the future.

Panko Crusted Cod


Two cod filets (My two filets together came up to 1.6 lbs)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 tsp old bay
1/2 tsp lemon pepper (I have one of those grinders)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp grated parmesean cheese (do not include in topping mix)

Lightly grease a baking dish with butter or olive oil.  Place the filets side by side in the bottom of the dish.  Mix together all of the topping ingredients, including the olive oil.  Spread the topping evenly over the fish. Finish with the parmesean cheese sprinkled evenly on the top. 

Bake uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes.  I finished mine at a broil for about 2 minutes to crisp up the top a little more.

I needed a side dish to go with this and decided that I would try risotto.  I had never made risotto before but had the arborio rice in my pantry that I had bought a long time ago.  I found a recipe by Rachel Ray for a Sweet Pea Risotto and decided to give it a try.  I really loved it and will definitely make it again. 

Sweet Pea Risotto
Slightly adapted from Rachel Ray

4 cups chicken stock (I used homemade but you can use canned)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine, plus a little more for the end
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a medium saucepan, warm the chicken stock over medium heat.  In a non-stick saute pan, melt the butter and olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft.  Add the rice and cook for about 1-2 more minutes.  Add the wine.

Stir until combined and then add about one cup of chicken stock at a time until you use it all.  In between each cup of stock, place a lid on the rice and stir about every minute or so.  When the liquid is about 2/3 of the way absorbed, add more stock.  You'll see what I mean when you start doing it.  It should take about 20 minutes or so to get all 4 cups of stock into the rice. 

When you are about 3 minutes from serving, add the peas and the 1/2 cup of parmesean.  The cheese will help to thicken up the sauce a bit.  At this point I added another spash or two of white wine for that extra flavor boost.  You can skip that part of you don't like the added wine flavor.  I think it made a big difference personally. 

When I served it, the risotto looked like this:

I don't know how it compares to other risotto, but I thought it tasted amazing.  It was thick and creamy and had just the right amount of sauce for me.  I heard somewhere (I think Top Chef) that risotto is supposed to spread out on the plate.  Mine did a little, but not much.  If you want it to "spread" I guess add a little more stock at the end so that it is a bit saucy"er" !

I topped this dinner off with some simple roasted cauliflower. 

Hope you like it!

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