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Food Network Favorites: Cod with Burst Grape Tomatoes, Parsley-Mint Pesto Broth & Roast Fingerling Potato Crisps with Herbs

Even when Rachael Ray's recipe titles aren't aggressively cute, they're ridiculously long. Once again, however, a few gripes about the title are all I can muster up; this dish is very good, and for once, it actually does take only 30 minutes to prepare.

Well, okay -- I do have a couple of other gripes...

One very big complaint, which isn't specifically about this recipe, but rather about the picture on the facing page: there's a photo of Rachael Ray doing that "handful" thing she does. Instead of measuring, she likes to just toss in ingredients. That's part of her thing, and it works for some people, so hey, more power to them! But the caption reads thusly: "Rachael liberates cooking from measurements, one 'palm-full' at a time. See that spice in her hand? That's a palm-full, or about a tablespoon." But the photo doesn't show how much she's got in her hand! Her fingers are bent up, and all we can see is a jar and her fingers! Clearly there was a big disconnect between the photo editor and the caption writer. How much does she have in her hand? Your guess is as good as mine.

And my other complaint: the instructions for this dish seemed unclear and out of sequence. I have almost completely rewritten the instructions to make them clearer. The potatoes should be put in the oven, then while they're cooking for 20 minutes, you should make the broth, then sear the fish. By the time the broth is simmering on the stove and the fish has seared, there should be just about 7 to 10 minutes of potato-cooking time left, which is just enough time to roast the fish. While the fish and potatoes are in the oven, make the garlic chips and chop the herbs for the potato crisps. Everything should come out of the oven at just about the same time.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Potato Crisps
4 large fingerling potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives (or 1 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Broth
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 cup chicken broth
1 small or 1/2 large shallot
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fish
1 3/4 to 2 pounds cod fillet, thick center cuts, in 4 portions
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt
Olive oil
1/2 pint whole grape tomatoes

Garlic Chips
4 Tbsp light olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
4 cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick the potatoes 3 or 4 times each and cook them in the microwave on high for 5 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, slice them lengthwise into 1/4-inch pieces. Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Arrange on a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes. Do not move or turn the slices as they cook.

After you put the potatoes in the oven, make the broth. Combine the parsley, mint, chicken broth, and shallot in a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.

Once the broth is simmering, prepare the fish. Place an oven-proof skillet over high heat. Pat the fillets dry and squeeze lemon juice over them. Season with salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Add the cod, seasoned sides down, to the very hot skillet and sear without moving for 2 minutes. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and add to the skillet with the fish. Sear the tomatoes for 1 minute, then transfer the pan to the oven and roast the fish and tomatoes until the fish is firm and opaque and tomatoes have burst, about 7 to 8 minutes.

For the garlic chips: Heat the frying oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic to the hot oil and fry until crisp and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the garlic chips on a paper towel and reserve.

When the potatoes are very brown and crisp on the bottom side and tender on the top side, remove them from the oven. Coat them liberally with the fresh chopped herbs.

To serve: Pour warm parsley-mint broth into 4 serving plates. Remove the fish from the oven. Place the fish (seared side up) onto the broth. Arrange the potato slices and tomatoes around the fish. Scatter garlic chips over the top, and serve.

 

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©2005 Colleen Flippo. All rights reserved. Contact the author.