Sunday, 11 September 2011

Fishing for Compliments

Merluzzo al Timo & Polenta Avvolto in Pancetta su Rucola Saltata e Pomodorini
Bacon-Wrapped Thyme-Infused Cod & Polenta on Sautéed Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes

It's ok- your eyes are not playing tricks with you... after more than 6 months of blogging, I have actually posted a fish recipe and I did actually eat it too! I am simply not a fan of fish- well, with a few exceptions such as monkfish, mahi-mahi and tonight, cod. I love shrimp, octopus, squid, cuttlefish... I eat crab and lobster... it is just something about the consistency of most other fish and not the flavor. So I am going to try to change my fishless ways in future... and this may only be a small step for the rest of mankind- but it was quite a big leap for me!

Obviously, this was a huge cheat on my part... and a cheap trick as well to use bacon- because of course bacon makes everything taste good! But on the other hand... what is wrong with that?

I started out by making a mix out of polenta, egg, finely chopped onion, finely grated parmesan, finely chopped rosemary, parsley and nutmeg. I stirred around 1 small cup of polenta into a half a cupful of boiling water, added the other ingredients first and stirred these in and then stirred in the egg. As the mixture was a little too soft, I added some dried breadcrumbs until it became firm enough to shape into a cake of about the same size as the fish.

I fried the polenta-cake one one side only in a small amount of olive oil, with a couple of slices of garlic to add some flavor. I then removed it from the pan and replaced it with the fish, which I fried for 1 minute, removed and placed with the cooked side down onto the polenta, which I had spread with sweet mustard,  so that both cooked sides were facing together and the top and bottom were raw. I lay a couple of sprigs of thyme onto the fish and then wrapped bacon around it to form a little parcel. Back into the pan it went- from the polenta side first as that will take longest to cook- it will need 3-4 minutes at a moderate heat for the polenta to cook and brown properly. Now flip it over onto the fish side, add a little olive oil, turn up the heat high, give it a minute to brown nicely and then remove from the heat.

The arugula is really quickly made- so I literally did this in the last 2-3 minutes. Wash and dry the leaves, heat up some olive oil in the pan, add a couple of slices of garlic and a little honey and then add the leaves along with a little salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Toss a couple of times and then push to one side and add the cherry tomatoes. They can sit in the hot pan to glaze whist you serve up the rest...

Again, simple, cheap, flavor-packed and fun- and do you need any more reasons to give this dish a go?


  1. i'm a fish lover myself, but it's always fascinating to see how foods from the sea and the land can, indeed, come together to make something delicious to eat. This looks like a wonderful example of that! And truly, as you say, what food isn't enhanced with a bit of bacon for flavor?

  2. Frank- you just made my day again with your nice comment! Thank you my friend- glad you like the look of it... I am sure you would like the taste too!