Happy Fish Day

Seared Cod with Clams and Veg

My parent’s birthdays were Sunday and Tuesday respectively. I thought it would be nice to celebrate both days together so I invited them over to my place for a nice dinner. I already planned on serving them my Daring Baker’s dessert, the Bostini Cream Pie, but I didn’t have a main dish to serve. After talking with my mom about the plans, she mentioned she’d like to have seafood. This seemed like a quite wide open answer but I decided I could take yet another challenge and come up with something.

I knew I wanted to try and make something my parents weren’t expecting so I decided to take some inspirations for the halibut dish I made a while back. I was pretty sure that my parents, being from New England, would expect their seafood deep-fried or broiled since that’s the norm around these parts. Going against the grain, I decided to go with pan searing, as I was sure they weren’t expecting it.

I made my way over to the local Whole Foods to see what sort of interesting seafood they had fresh and available. I eventually settled on a nice loin of cod and some mahogany clams. While I was there, I picked up a small bag of multi-colored, fingerling potatoes: red, gold, white, and blue, to round out the dish. I also managed to get some fresh, local green beans from a nearby farm stand that would find their way into this dish.

The fish was seasoned with a mix of pink alea sea salt, sichuan pepper, and black sesame seeds that I coarsely ground up. It was then seared in coconut oil until a nice crust formed and was finished in the oven. The fish was cooked until just done – medium well. I par-boiled the potatoes, drained them, and finished them in a coconut milk and butter sauce that was seasoned with sichuan pepper as well. The green beans were quickly stir fried in sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and drizzled with soy sauce. The clams were steamed in rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and star anise. They were then removed from the steaming liquid and topped with a coconut milk reduction. The whole dish took on a Pan-Asian theme before I even realized it.

I’m not sure my parents have tasted my cuisine since completing culinary school and moving away four years ago so I don’t think they knew what to expect. My mom confessed she didn’t usually like green beans but loved my preparation of them (and ate them all). My dad pretty much likes everything and won’t pull any punches when it comes to complaints. His plate was empty and there were no complaints so I’m pretty confident it was a success. It was the first time that either of my parents have tried mahogany clams before (my personal favorite); my mom especially enjoyed them.

We finished the meal off with Bostini Cream Pies which quickly disappeared even though my mom claimed to be full.

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