Thursday, January 21, 2010

Baked cod fish fillets with flavored bread crumbs

This is a variation on a dish I watched Lidia Bastianich make on her show," Lidia's Italy". It was from Umbria which is in central Italy. Since that area is land locked, she used a fresh water fish. I used some cod fillets I bought frozen at Trader Joe's. I also prefer to make my own fresh bread crumbs using any good bread I have available. I find dry bread crumbs from the super market taste stale, so unless I'm breading a lot of stuff (in which case I buy bread crumbs from my local Italian bakery), I make my own. Since Italian food is very simple, the extra attention paid to ingredients such as bread crumbs often make the difference between good results and great results.So, I had some ciabatta rolls from the same Trader Joe's which I sliced the bottoms from ( the harder bottom of bread and rolls doesn't process as well) and cut into pieces.Then, I processed them till they reached the desired size crumb. Add to the bread crumbs a small handful of oregano, the zest of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste, 2 or 3 tbs. of chopped, flat leaf parsley and enough olive oil to moisten the crumbs slightly.

In a baking dish large enough to hold the fish, place 5 cloves of garlic smashed with the side of your chef's knife, 4 tbs. of olive oil, 1/4 cup of white wine and the juice of one lemon. Mix the sauce with a fork and place the fish fillets in the dish nestling the garlic around them. Then, top the fish with the flavored bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. The fish will be flavored with the sauce and moist; the bread crumbs will have browned and have a crunchy texture. I put a tray of cut up potatoes, parsnips and carrots in the oven 15 minutes before the fish and stirred them after putting in the fish so that both cooked at the same time. While the fish and potatoes were cooking, I first sauteed some swiss chard with garlic, pine nuts, raisins and red pepper flakes, then let it steam with a splash of white wine till tender.

Two ciabatta rolls, bottoms removed and cut up prior to being processed. This makes enough crumbs to cover 3 large fillets.

Here are the processed crumbs after flavoring.

After 15 or 20 minutes in the oven, the fish is tender and moist and the bread crumbs are crunchy and slightly browned.The crumbs are delicious. You could eat them alone without anything else!

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