Braised Leeks & Cod

Showing off a Deanna made meal over here, braised leeks, poached cod, and off to the side- some celery root mash. I eat good!

Most of the recipes are from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but credit my wife with the execution and the brilliant plan to pair these all together.

Braised Leeks

from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

12 fresh leeks (about 1 ½ inches in diameter)
3 to 4 cups water
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter, plus more for baking dish
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1. Trim leeks at the root end, being careful to keep leaves intact and attached. Remove any withered or spotted leaves. Cut tops until leeks are each about 6 ½ to 7 inches long. Slice leeks lengthwise to within about 1 inch of the root end. Turn leeks a quarter turn and slice lengthwise again. Rinse leeks under running tap, separating layers carefully to get out all dirt deposits.

2. Lay trimmed and rinsed leeks in a wide saucepan, making 2 or 3 layers. Pour in enough water to come 2/3 of the way up side of the pan. Dot leeks with butter and sprinkle with salt.

3. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-high and partially cover pan, leaving only enough room to allow steam to escape. Cook 30 to 40 minutes, basting leeks occasionally with cooking liquid, until whites of leeks are fork-tender. Liquid should be almost evaporated.

4. As leeks cook on stove top, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

5. Butter a rectangular baking dish or oval casserole and transfer leeks, covering with any remaining cooking juices. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until leeks turn a light golden color. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Poached Cod

from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

12 ounces of fresh white mushrooms, cleaned, patted dry and sliced
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
2 1/2 pounds filet of sole, flounder, or tilefish
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots or green onions
1/2 cup water
1 cup white wine
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk or heavy cream
1/4 cup grated cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Toss the mushrooms in the butter over moderately high heat for a minute or two without browning. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and set aside.

3. Sprinkle half the onions along the bottom of a buttered dish that can be used on both the stovetop and oven (I have a cast-iron dutch oven). Season the filets with the salt and pepper and lay them across the onions in one slightly overlapping layer. Sprinkle the remaining onions or shallots over the fish, then add the mushrooms, and finally the water and white wine. Bring the dish to simmer on the stove.

4. Spray a piece of parchment cut to size on one side and lay it over the fish.
Place the dish into the oven and cook until just barely done, 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. You’ll know it’s ready when a fork can easily pierce the skin of the fish but don’t let it get dry and flaky. Take the dish out and drain all the cooking liquid into a saucepan. Set the fish, still inside the dutch oven, aside, covered.

5. Preheat the oven’s broiler. Meanwhile, bring the cooking liquid to a rapid boil and boil it down until it has reduced to one cup. Take it off the heat. Meanwhile, soften the remaining three tablespoons of butter and beat it into the flour to form a paste. Beat that paste into the boiling, reduced cooking liquid, then mix in 1/2 cup of milk or cream. Bring that mixture to a boil. Thin the sauce with additional tabelspoons of milk or cream until it coats the spoon nicely. Season to taste and spoon it over the fish.

6. Cover the fish with the cheese. Place the whole cooking dish back until the oven, under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese and reheat the fish. Serve as soon as possible.



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