Monday, February 22, 2010

Cod with Prosciutto Topping

Typically, I'm a meat girl. I like steak... I like burgers... I like bacon... I like hot dogs... I like chili... unfortunately, I know that red meat isn't that great for you, especially in large quantities. That being said, I'm trying to fit more fish into my diet. I actually love fish, but I don't like it when it's reheated, so whenever Curt and I have time to cook dinner together (which consists of Curt watching TV while I tinker around in the kitchen) I try to make fish.
A few months ago, I found this recipe in a New England Cookbook. The original recipe was for "Baked Cod with Crispy Proscuitto Topping." The recipe said that you should roast the fish in a pan with some white wine. I thought I would switch it up a bit (surprise, surprise) and pan fry the fish to give it a crispy texture. I also made a sauteed mushroom and green bean side dish with the extra garlic and prosciutto. Who can live without a bit of starch? I added some fresh mashed potatoes. For an appetizer, I made some bacon wrapped shrimp. Here's the story of our dinner :)
The Players
( I can't figure out how to rotate this picture, sorry!)
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
This is the easiest appetizer ever... I grabbed a few jumbo gulf shrimp and a few slices of bacon. Cut the slices of bacon in half and wrap 1/2 around a shrimp, so they look like this one on the right:
Once all the shrimp is wrapped, place them seam side down in a pan on medium heat. You don't really need any oil in the pan because there is enough fat in the bacon to prevent the shrimp and bacon from sticking. I did give the pan a few spritzes of Pam, though.
The great thing about the shrimp is that they are so easy and fast! They only need a few minutes in the pan to cook all the way through. Once the shrimp starts turning a bit opaque, then flip them until the bacon starts to brown and get crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside for later, or give to your hungry spouse who is complaining of hunger from the couch. :)
( Look how delicious these little guys are!)
Crunchy Cod with Prosciutto Topping
* 2 oz. chopped prosciutto
* 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
* 1 tbs dried basil
* 1 large clove garlic, minced
* 1/4 tsp black pepper
* 2 tbs. olive oil
* 4 (6 oz) cod fillets
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/2 cup flour
The first thing you do is take care of the fish. Pat it dry, then season with salt and pepper of both sides. Set up 2 bowls, 1 with the beaten egg and 1 with the flour. First, you'll dip the pieces of cod into the egg.

After the cod is covered with the egg, you will dip it into the flour until it is totally covered. This part gets pretty messy, so it helps if you have 1 hand that is dry and 1 that is wet... this will avoid a messy paste of egg and flour covering your hands.

( You can't really see the fish too well since it's so bright!)
In a pan, heat some oil to medium heat. I like using a canola oil because it can tolerate the high temperatures. Anyway, you will know that the oil is hot by doing the stick test... just stick the end of a wooden spoon into the hot oil. When you see little bubbles come out of the spoon (you are essentially frying the spoon), you will know the oil is hot enough.
Gently place the covered fish in the oil a few pieces at a time. Make sure that you don't put too many pieces of fish (or anything you fry) at one time. If you "crowd the pan," the temperature of the oil will drop, which will mess with the way that the fish cooks.

Once the fish is browned on one side, give it a flip and let the other side brown. The fish doesn't exactly need to be cooked all the way because you will be putting it all in the oven a little bit later. As for the frying, I'm not sure if there's a rule about how many times you flip it, but I try to only flip the fish once.
After the fish has cooked, put it on a plate, lined with paper towels to let the excess oil drain off the fish so it isn't greasy. Just set them aside while you make the yummy topping!

For the topping, just chop up the prosciutto, then mix it with the basil, garlic, and the parsley. All I did was mix it all together in a bowl and then plop it in a pan.

( I love all of the bright colors in this)
I decided to cook everything in a pan to give the prosciutto a chance to crisp up. With the fish being crunchy, I thought that the prosciutto should be a bit crispy too.

I didn't want to cook the topping too much, just give it a bit of texture, so after a few minutes, I removed the pan from the heat and let it all cool. Next, I divided up the topping evenly and placed it on each piece of cod. I placed the fish on a baking sheet and stuck them in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes. I then realized that there was no cheese in the meal! So I sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese everything, then put it back in the oven. I only cooked it all for a few minutes under the broiler. Make sure you watch the fish carefully; I've burned my fair share of food when I stepped away from the oven for just a few minutes!

Ta Da!
Green Beans and Mushrooms with Prosciutto
Next, I made the veggie side dish. I had some extra prosciutto, so I put it on a baking sheet and then stuck it in the oven for a few minutes to let it all crisp up. Remember the comment earlier about forgetting things under the broiler? Well, yeah, I did it again, so the prosciutto was a bit more well done than I had planned, but oh well!

This was a pretty easy dish too... I find that if you take some good, quality ingredients, you can whip up a quick and easy dish that is delicious! Anyway.... I just cut ung up a bit p the green beans and mushrooms and threw them in a pan with some canola oil. I just stirred everything up and added the prosciutto. I also sprinkled a bit more parmesan on top of everything... five minutes later, you have a delicious side dish!

So... here's the finished product! Dinner was yummy and although it was fish, I managed to sneak a little bit of meat into it anyway!

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