Black Cod with Aioli and Sautéed Garlic Spinach


Black cod, or sablefish, has a divine flakiness to it like cod, but it isn’t so dry or meaty, having more of a silky quality to it.  It is divine and lends itself to many different preparations.  This one, with the earthiness of the spinach, makes for a delicious contrast of colour, texture, mouthfeel, and flavour.

Aoili

  • 1 egg yok
  • 1 tablespoon of traditional Dijon mustard
  • Juice of a half a lemon
  • Finely grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 small clove of garlic, pounded smooth in a mortar
  • A pinch of coarse salt (for the mortar and garlic)
  • Freshly grated pepper to taste
  • ½ cup of virgin olive oil

Fish

  • 1 full side of a fish, skin on, about 1 ½ pounds
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley, about 1-2 tablespoons, chopped fine

Spinach

  • 16 oz of coarsely chopped spinach, either fresh or frozen
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced fine
  • 1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Make the aioli.  Whisk together egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper.  Continuing to whisk, stream in the oil at a very slow pace, as you would to make a mayonnaise.  Whisk until light and fluffy and fully emulsified.  Set aside in the refrigerator.

Prepare the fish.  In a cast iron pan, heat the pan until hot, add the oil (it will shimmer as it goes in), and spread around.  Cook the fish skin side down for 5-8 minutes, until the skin begins to colour and crisp.  Gently flip the fish and cook to colour for a further 3-4 minutes.  With fish, less is more, so the ranges are about the thickness.  Keep an eye out.  The moment it is cooked along the thickest part, take it off the heat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Let rest.

Prepare the spinach.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the olive oil to the pan, and sauté the garlic and dried red pepper flakes.  Cook for a minute or so until the garlic is translucent.  Add the spinach and toss to cook through.  If fresh, you may wish to cover, and cook for 5 minutes or so.  When done, remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and plate.

Plate the fish skin side up on top of the cooked spinach and nap the fish with the sauce.  Sprinkle with a small quantity of fresh parsley.  Serve it forth.  Serves 4.

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