Victor Protasio
Active Time
20 MIN
Total Time
35 MIN
Yield
Serves : 4

In my opinion, cod is highly underrated and overlooked. Often relegated to being fried and served with chips doused in malt vinegar (which is perfectly fine and delicious), this flaky white fish doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s buttery, unassuming, and incredibly versatile, which, as I enter my fourth year full-time in Hudson, New York, has made it all the more appealing.

When I lived in Brooklyn, I had access to everything food-wise imaginable. Oysters on a Tuesday night with some bread, butter, and wine? Sure! Beautifully marbled meat from our fantastic butcher The Meat Hook, accompanied by vegetables I snatched up at the Union Square Farmers Market? Yes, please! Delicate, fresh noodles from the artisan pasta shop across the street? Why not? Any craving I had could be fulfilled on my commute from midtown. These days I get to work by walking to my office (it’s next to my bedroom) and dinner is more often than not about using what I’ve got on hand, which in some ways can be more fun. I love a challenge.

I’m very lucky to live surrounded by the incredible farmland of the Hudson Valley. I know who grows my vegetables and where my dairy, eggs, and meat come from—and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also belong to a farm share, which inspires me to look for joy and inspiration in whatever happens to be in my bi-monthly box, even if it is beets ... again.

Similarly, the fish I prepare is also determined by what’s readily available, and in this case, cod has gone into regular rotation. Other fish come and go at my local fishmonger’s shop, but I can always count on cod (especially ). In this dish, cod is quickly cooked in a skillet then given the elegant upgrade it deserves: Leeks take a quick bath in a broth composed of white wine and chicken broth; snap peas get the briefest of simmers so they maintain their fresh texture. Butter is swirled in at the end to slightly thicken up the sauce as well as some lemon juice for brightness.

I’d pair this dish with a wine that’s equally as dignified, such as a Chablis, which is located in northwest Burgundy and known for having good minerality from the limestone in the soil.  produces a very nice one. Served all together you’ve got quite a refined meal. And while yes, you could also make this dish with sea bass or halibut, for the love of cod, why would you?

How to Make It

Step 1    

Combine chicken stock, wine, and bay leaf in a high-sided skillet, and bring to a simmer over medium-low. Add leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until they are just shy of tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add snap peas, and simmer until they are just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes (you want them crunchy). Reduce heat to low; swirl in butter, stirring until it melts. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Step 2    

Season fish well with black pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Heat olive oil in a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high. Cook fish, skin side down, until flesh starts to turn opaque and skin is crispy, about 3 minutes. Flip fish and finish cooking, about 2 minutes.

Step 3    

Remove and discard bay leaf. Evenly spoon some of the vegetable broth, leeks, and snap peas into 4 wide bowls. Place a fish fillet on each, and spoon some of the remaining broth around. Shower with fresh herbs, and season with flaky salt, if desired.

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