Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Sep 18, 2012

Salt Cod with Corn & Littleneck Clams

Libations used: 1/2 cup white wine
Libations left over: Pretty much the whole bottle, so serve with dinner...
Even though this past weekend was a scorcher, I managed to fire up the stove because I missed cooking!  I was given some lovely fresh corn from Jimenez Farms at the market on Sunday, so I decided to make this simple and quick recipe for Salt Cod with Corn & Littleneck Clams from Food & Wine.  I picked up the cod and clams from Santa Monica Seafood (would I go anywhere else in LA?), with one big, center-cut fillet providing enough for four servings.  With all this good seafood, I couldn't possibly enjoy it just by myself, so I invited a friend over.  This dish is actually perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or impromptu gathering.  Just prep all of your ingredients beforehand, and the actual cooking takes under 10 minutes.  The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of kosher salt, but I didn't use that much to coat the cod.  Just make sure you evenly cover each side with salt and don't let it sit any more than 10 minutes.  The corn underneath provides a nice, crunchy texture that perfectly balances the fish and clams, and the herbs and seasoning are light and simple.  Cut up some fresh, crusty bread for dousing in that broth, and you've got yourself a hearty, late-summer meal. 

Salt Cod with Corn & Littleneck Clams - serves 4
  • 4 skinless, center-cut cod fillets (about 5 oz each)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Wondra flour
  • 20 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cilantro sprigs
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a dry Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbs chopped parsley
- Set the cod on a plate and cover both sides of the fillets with salt. 
- Let the cod stand for exactly 10 minutes, then rinse the fillets and pat them dry.
- Fill up a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
- Add the ears of corn and cook for 2 minutes.
- Drain them and pat them dry, and when they've cooled, cut the kernels off the cobs.
- In a small skillet, add the butter, lemon juice and corn kernels.
- Season with some white pepper and cook for about a minute, or until heated through.
- In a large, deep nonstick saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil on high.
- Dust the cod with Wondra flour and white pepper on both sides.
- Add the fish to the pan, skinned side down and cook over high heat until golden (about 4 minutes).
- Flip the cod and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the clams, garlic, cilantro, thyme, wine and season with more pepper.
- Cover the pot and cook for about 6 minutes, or until the clams open up and the fish is cooked through.
- Discard the herb sprigs and any clams that don't open up.
- Rewarm the corn and spoon into 4 bowls.
- Top with the cod and sprinkle some smoked paprika on top.
- Spoon the clams and broth around the sides and garnish with the parsley.
- Serve with some crusty bread.