Saturday night has turned into fish night around here. I will nip out to Whole Foods on Saturday afternoon when the heat becomes too hot for gardening and cool off in the cars air conditioning. As a testament to the differences between the Brit's taste buds and his idea of what 'cooked' means I shall present you with our fish differences. He wanted Halibut. I found a lovely halibut steak, salted and peppered it and placed it in a dish with some olive oil and a bit of butter on top. The oven was set to 400 degress F. I cooked his fish for 8 minutes on 1 side, flipped, S&P again and back in the oven for another 8 minutes. Now that is 16 minutes at 400 degrees for a piece of fish that is at best between 1/2 an inch and 3/4 of an inch. I pulled it out and had to demonstrate to his Britishness that it was indeed cooked and flaky. It was. He made me put it back in for another 5 MINUTES! That would be 21 minutes for a thin piece of fish. He wanted it with mushy peas, no problem, he's a Northern boy - I understand. *SHUDDER*.
As for me, I wanted something I could bake in the oven so I could pay attention to my side of sauteed zucchini (courgette) a summer staple.
Baked Cod with Mushrooms and Cream
1 piece of Cod, if possible a thickish piece without the thin ends
2 TBS butter
1/2 pound of mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup of cognac or brandy
1/2 cup canned Glen Muir fire roasted chopped tomato whirred up in the blender for 30 seconds
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 sprigs fresh thyme
grated gruyere cheese **
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; saute until golden, about 7 minutes. Add cognac; simmer until liquid reduces to a glaze. Add tomatoes, cream and thyme, simmer until sauce thickens , 5 - 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a gratin dish, put a tiny bit of olive oil on the bottom, lay in fish piece, top with sauce. Place in oven and cook 15 minutes. Take out and add cheese to top. Check fish, if it is flaky and ready then use broiler to melt the cheese, if the fish needs a few more minutes put back in the oven until cheese melts and is bubbly.
**You can certainly skip the cheese in this recipe. It is just as good without.