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Sear-Roasted Cod with Horseradish Aioli & Lemon Zest Breadcrumbs

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Sear Roasted Cod

Okay, I’ve got one for yah’ today: a delicious fish recipe that even people who ‘don’t like fish’ will enjoy – ‘cause it doesn’t taste the least bit fishy!  I used the sale cod loins (seriously, cod loins?  Did you ever know of such a thing?  I can’t help but snicker), but you could use whatever white flaky fish you like….heck, try it with the sale salmon if that’s what floats your boat.  It’s not white of course, but the aioli, lemon breadcrumbs, and technique would totally work there too.

Find the cod loins (sorry, my immaturity won’t let me get past the term) with the frozen fish, not in the fresh seafood case.  To thaw it quickly, transfer the fish to a large Ziploc bag, put some lukewarm water in your sink, and float the fish in the water, turning it every now and then.  For me, this took about 12 minutes.  Drain it off, pat it dry and you’re in business!

Enjoy!

SEAR-ROASTED COD WITH HORSERADISH AIOLI & LEMON ZEST BREADCRUMBS
Serves: 4
Source:  finecooking.com

For the breadcrumbs:
3 T. olive oil
1 c. coarse fresh breadcrumbs **see note**
1 T. finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the horseradish aioli:
5 T. mayonnaise
2 t. prepared horseradish
¾ t. fresh lemon juice
½ t. minced garlic
½ t. tomato paste
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the fish:
3 T. olive oil
4 thick skinless cod fillets (Cod Loins are on sale this week, 9/29/10 – 10/5/10)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, washed and dried
1 lemon
1 t. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425.

Breadcrumbs:  In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until golden and crunchy, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.  Stir in the lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside at room temperature.

Horseradish Aioli:  In a small bowl, mix the aioli ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate.

The Fish:  Heat the oil in a heavy 12-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt and pepper.  When the oil is shimmering hot, arrange the fish evenly in the pan, skinned side up.  Sear for about 2 minutes, without moving, then use a slotted metal spatula to lift a piece of fish and check the color.  When the pieces are nicely browned, flip them and remove the pan from heat.

Spread the seared side of each piece of fish with some of the aioli and then a thick layer of the breadcrumbs (you may or may not need to use all of the aioli and crumbs).  Put the pan in the oven and roast until the fish is cooked through, 5-6 minutes.

While the fish is roasting, put the parsley leaves in a small bowl; cut the lemon in wedges and squeeze some juice over the parsley, to taste.  Drizzle the parsley with enough olive oil to lightly coat the leaves, season with salt and pepper, and toss.  The parsley should taste bright and lemony.

When the fish is cooked, remove the pan from the oven and transfer fish to plates.  Top each with some of the parsley salad and garnish with a lemon wedge.

**NOTE**  I used Sendik’s breadcrumbs from the bakery and they worked out just fine!

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Leah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."

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