Friday, 7 October 2011

Wrap it up!

Merluzzo Avvolto in Porro con  Pomodorini e Finocchio
Leek-Wrapped Cod with Cherry Tomatoes and Fennel

It was Friday night and time to try something new with fish again- something healthy and light and easy. I had leeks that needed to be eaten (and still do even after this dish!) and some cherry tomatoes, a last heart of fennel and rumbling tummy. So it was plain that I was going to combine what I had and to not beat around the bush too much. And going into my culinary autopilot mode and relying on my instinct more than anything else, I came up with this...

I started out by taking the outer layer away from the leek, as it was already a couple of days old. I sliced down the length of the leek and pulled it away. And there I was with this strip of leak that could be opened up into quite a large area. So obviously, I thought of wrapping my fillet of cod with it. At the same time, I was wary of leek being a little sinuous and tough sometimes, so I flattened out the slice of leek and blanched it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes first. I then strained it, patted it dry and wrapped the fish in it. I made sure to butter, salt, pepper and season it with a hint of nutmeg first.

Once it was wrapped, I wrapped it again in aluminum foil and steamed it in a saucepan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes on each side. In the meantime, I pre-cooked the fennel for 3-4 minutes in a little salted water. After this time, I added some clarified butter, a good handful of chopped parsley and the cherry tomatoes. I sprinkled them lightly with sugar and stir-fried them for 3-4 minutes until everything was starting to soften and become brown. I then turned off the heat and turned up the heat on another pan, ready for the fish...

I removed the fish from the foil- it was nice and tender already, just looking a little pale. So fried the roll at a relatively high heat for 1-2 minutes from either side, giving it a little color and extra flavor. I seasoned with a little salt and some fine but mild chili flakes and some pepper and garnished the roll with delicate fine fennel leaves. I served the fish on a bed of tomatoes and fennel and enjoyed it with a nice fresh slice or two of Ciabatta to pick up the delicious juices from the tomatoes... yum!

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