Saturday, January 29, 2011

Macadamia-and-Panko-Crusted Cod with Orange-Butter Sauce

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – June 2010
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in Every Day with Rachael Ray, May 2010.

I often get stuck in a rut.  I’ll eat a ridiculous amount of shrimp and chicken in my quest to eat healthier, and then get really bored.  The hard thing about most non-shrimp seafood recipes is that it doesn’t keep well and can quickly go bad before I get a chance to cook it.  Additionally, I have to worry about the eco-friendliness of the different types of fish.  Still, I took a chance on this eco-friendly cod recipe that had a significant sauce to keep it moist during the re-heating process.

Picture published with recipe:

© Every Day with Rachael Ray

My finished product:

The thing that frightened me most about the picture from the magazine is that it wasn’t finished.  It did look incredibly yummy, so I pushed ahead.  My final dish doesn’t look nearly as pretty as the published picture.  I have a couple overcooked areas on my fish & the sauce looks kind of squishy, but don’t let the picture fool you.  It was delicious!
for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen's Rating System

 Mess:  YIKES – when you’ve got the process of dipping into egg, then into bread crumbs then into a waiting dish/pan, you’re bound to get egg and crumbs all over your cabinets.  Also, you are cooking the fish in olive oil which can spatter and the food processor also has to be cleaned and stored.

Start-to-Finish Time: Under an hour (and fairly close to the time listed by Rachael Ray’s site).

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS - the basics, although shallots can be a pain

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – no really difficult ingredients but frying breaded fish brought me fairly close to the threshold of MORE THAN I BARGAINED FOR.

Overall:  NOT BAD – technically it should be a YUMMY because I definitely would make it again if asked, but don’t look forward to the mess and clean-up, so I'll probably not mention it.

Recipe Information:
Total Time: 35 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Serves: 4

Nutritional Information:
Rachael Ray is notorious for not listing her nutritional information on her recipes.  Her mantra is “eat in moderation.”  I follow the same mantra – you should be able to enjoy a gooey dessert or butter sauce every once in a while – but you need to be armed with good nutritional information so you know what is an indulgence and what is a healthy dish.  The original recipe called for using 10 tablespoons of butter, so I’m guessing in its original form, this could be considered an indulgence.  I lightened it up a little, so hopefully it’s a little bit healthier than what I started with.

One fillet is absolutely a meal.  It does have a butter sauce, so if you’re watching calories and fat intake, you could always eat half a filet on a bed of brown rice with a side of mixed vegetables and a large salad.

Changes denoted by red text

½ cup pulp free orange juice
¼ cup dry white wine
1 small shallot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 cup roasted macadamia nuts, chopped
¾ cup panko
2 eggs, beaten
Four 4-ounce Alaskan cod fillets, patted dry
¼ cup olive oil, divided

Ingredient Notes:
Pulp Free Orange Juice – we don’t drink a lot of juice in our house, so I looked for, and found, a single-serving pulp-free orange juice.

Dry White Wine – If you don’t have a bottle of dry white wine already open, you can use cooking white wine (as I did) which is found with the vinegar in your grocery store.

  • You can find this garlicky onion in the same area as the onions.  I usually find them sold in small bags of three or four near the pearl onions.
  • If you can’t find shallots, you can always use the white portion of a green onion or thinly sliced onion with a minced clove of garlic.

Butter – The original recipe called for 6 tablespoons of butter in the sauce & cooking the fish in 2 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons olive oil.  The sauce had a delicious taste after 4 tablespoons, so I saw no need to add more butter into it.  The fish cooked fine in the oil alone and I didn’t notice any difference in the way it tasted either.

Macadamia Nuts – I always struggle finding macadamia nuts at the grocery store.  I couldn’t find any this last shopping trip and had walnuts on hand.  They were a suitable substitute.  You can also use pecans.

  • These are Japanese breadcrumbs that can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store.  I have now noticed them side-by-side with the regular bread crumbs as well. 
  • If you can’t find it, you can use regular bread crumbs.

  • Depending on where you shop, cod can be a difficult fish to find.  Look in the freezer section if you can't find it fresh or substitute the easier to find tilapia.
  • The original recipe called for simply “cod” but if you are concerned with the sustainability of certain fish, you want to look a little closer at the label.  Alaskan Cod (caught by longline) are the most eco-friendly choice for this dish, followed by the Pacific Cod (caught by trawl) as somewhat eco-friendly and Atlantic Cod as the worst choice.  For more information, you can look at the complete list of Seafood Eco-Ratings on the Environmental Defense Fund’s web site.

Olive Oil – should you use your really expensive extra-virgin olive oil or not.  Since it is not the focus of the dish and is used as a cooking medium, don’t waste your good olive oil stash.  The cheap(er) stuff works just fine.

Equipment Needed:
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Small skillet
Wooden spoon
Small bowl (to beat eggs)
Fork (to beat eggs)
Paper towel
Large Spoon
Food Processor
Shallow Bowl (2)
Spoon - dry mixing
Large nonstick skillet
Flexible spatula

Equipment Notes:
Flexible Spatula – cooking a delicate item like fish takes a certain finesse to keep the breading and filet intact.  I was given a thin flexible spatula as a hostess gift one Easter and LOVE using it for cooking food with breading.

(1) In a saucepan, bring the orange juice, wine and shallot to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced, 10 to 12 minutes.

(2) Lower the heat and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time; season with salt and pepper.

(3) Using a food processor, pulse the macadamia nuts with ¼ cup panko until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a wide, shallow bowl and stir in the remaining ½ cup panko.

(4) Put the beaten eggs in a separate wide, shallow bowl.

(5) Make sure the fish is fairly dry before starting the seasoning and breading process.  You do not need to squeeze out the moisture, just make sure the surface if as dry as possible.  Season the fish with salt and pepper, dip in the egg and coat with the panko mixture.

(6) In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. The recipe calls for an oil and butter combination.  I found it cooked just as well without the extra butter.

(7) Add 2 fillets and cook, turning once, until golden-brown, about 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining oil and fillets.

(8) Divide the fish among 4 plates and drizzle with the sauce.

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