If you’ve followed this website for any amount of time, you know that I’ve enjoyed my fair share of cod. I’ve also cooked asparagus in a variety of ways. One thing I’ve yet to taste is what’s called melted leeks. This was new to me. When I saw a recipe for them in a cookbook and read the ingredients involved, I quickly new I had to give them a try.
In this recipe, the asparagus is delicious. It’s coated with olive oil, shallots and paprika. Honestly, I’m not sure how it can be better. The cod is wonderful as well. I pan roasted it in the oven with some olive oil. I lightly seasoned it with salt and pepper and it came out flaky and tender – just the way it should. It was great. While those two elements were as I expected them to be, I wasn’t ready for the slow cooked leeks and onion. Wow. Curtis Stone wasn’t lying when he said, “The leeks become so tender they virtually melt into the creamy sauce.” It’s true. They do. And when they’re cooked slowly like it’s called for in the recipe I found in Curtis’ book What’s For Dinner, they become sweeter. To top things off, the texture is to die for. If there’s one area I would focus most of my attention on in this recipe, it would be the melted leeks. Hands down.
For the Leeks
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Large Yellow Onion, Coarsely Chopped
Ground Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
2 Large Leeks (white and light green parts), Cut into 1/2 Inch Pieces
1 Cup Heavy Cream
For the Asparagus
1 1/2 Pounds Asparagus, Trimmed
3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Shallots, Finely Chopped
1 Teaspoon Paprika
For the Cod
4 6-Ounce Skinless Cod Fillets, Cut Evenly
2 Teaspoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper
I would suggest taking your time with cooking the leeks. The whole endeavor will take a hair over 30 minutes, so enjoy. They cook over low heat, so there will be plenty of time to prep the fish and asparagus.
Prep & Cook the Melted Leeks
Warm a large skillet over medium-low heat. When it’s to temperature, add the butter and olive oil and let the butter melt completely. When ready, add the chopped onions to the pan.
Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes. Stir often. When the onions begin to soften, add the minced garlic to the skillet and continue cooking, while stirring, for another 2 minutes.
When that’s finished, add the cut leeks to the pan, along with a pinch of sea salt, and let cook for about 15 minutes. You’ll need to stir during this time as well because it’s important for the leeks to soften like the onions did.
After the leeks appear visually soft, go ahead and add the 1 cup of heavy cream, along with another pinch of salt, to the skillet.
Cook and stir for about 10 minutes. If you’d like, you can season to taste with some ground black pepper at this point as well. While continuing on with the rest of the recipe, you’ll want to keep the skillet warm over very low heat.
Prep the Asparagus
Add the 1 1/2 pounds of trimmed asparagus to a medium sized bowl. Also add in the 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, the 2 tablespoons of shallots, the 1 teaspoons of paprika and a pinch of sea salt. Mix well and set aside for later use.
Cook the Cod & Asparagus
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Add the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to another large skillet. Also, add the 4 cod fillets to the skillet and add a pinch or two of sea salt to the tops of the cod. When the oven is warm, add the skillet with the cod in it to the center rack of the oven and let cook for about 10 minutes or until you see the sides of the cod begin to separate and become flaky. When that happens, remove the cod from the oven and turn off the heat.
While the cod is cooking, warm another large skillet over medium heat. When the pan is to temperature, add in all the ingredients that are in the bowl with the asparagus.
Cook the asparagus over the medium heat for 10 minutes or so or until you see that it’s tender, but still bright green. If you go too far here, the asparagus will begin to brown and will be overcooked.
Plate & Serve
At this point, all the parts of this recipe should still be warm. Line up 4 plates and divide the melted leeks among them. Then, add 1 piece of cod per plate and top with an even amount of asparagus. Serve.
The Final Dish
This dish beat my expectations. At first glance, it looked like it would be challenging to prepare, but it wasn’t tough at all. It simply took some time and patience. Said and done, it was well worth the wait.
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