Cod Scampi with Caramelized Fennel

Yet another night of making it up as I go along.  I had a couple beautiful Pacific cod loins to work with, so I decided to do my own take on the scampi sauce that is most commonly associated with shrimp.  As a side dish, I seized on some inspiration from an old Army buddy and fellow home chef, who recently posted a Facebook pic with some yummy looking caramelized fennel slices.  With no recipe in hand, I picked up a whole fennel bulb from Findlay Market and consulted my copy of Culinary Artistry for some flavor pairing ideas.  Here was the result:

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For the cod, preheat the oven on a low broil.  Season the cod loins with sea salt and white pepper, then place on a baking sheet about 6″ under the broiler for about 20 minutes.  While the cod is cooking, make your scampi sauce on the stovetop.  The recipe tonight is for a romantic dinner for two (which is what Laura and I have most nights here at Chez Dave).

  • 3 tbsp. whole butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oz. dry white wine
  • Lemon juice

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the minced garlic and allow to cook gently for about 5 minutes to infuse the flavor, but don’t allow it or the butter to brown.  Add the wine and let the mixture reduce by about half.  Hopefully by this time your cod should be just about done.  When you’re ready to plate, spoon some of the sauce mixture over the cod loins and finish with a squirt of fresh lemon juice.  Garnish with a fennel frond to make it extra pretty.

Meanwhile, cut the root and fronds off the fennel and slice it crosswise into discs (which will try to come apart on you, so handle carefully).  Melt about 2 tbsp. of whole butter in a skillet over medium heat and then arrange the fennel slices in a single layer.  Season with kosher salt.  Allow the slices to caramelize on the bottom, then turn them over once and repeat on the other side.  Deglaze with about 2 oz. of cream sherry, then reduce the heat to low and let the fennel slices continue to tenderize as the cod finishes.  When you plate, garnish with a little grated parmesan from your MicroPlane.  We also added a simple arugula salad on the side.

That’s all there is to it.  This entire menu comes together in about 30 minutes.  We munched it down with a big happy grin on our faces, and enjoyed it immensely.  I trust you will too.  Until next time:  Eat well, my friends!

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