Surprisingly, this is a very quick and easy recipe to prepare. While it looks like there’s a lot going on, there really isn’t. There are only three major steps that need to be taken with approximately 20 minutes worth of cooking time. After that, you’ll be enjoying some very tasty cod with just about the best vinaigrette you’ve ever had.
If you like orange, this is the recipe for you. And if you like orange mixed with some sweet maple syrup, along with toasted pecans, this recipe is really for you. I’d say the vinaigrette in this recipe is just awesome. It’s so flavorful that anything in its path tastes good. It enhances the fish and the spinach like nothing else can. I was surprised, to say the least.
I found this recipe in Curtis Stone‘s cookbook called What’s For Dinner? In his recipe, he calls for halibut, which costs $18.99 per pound at our local grocery store. Since cod was on sale for $4.99 per pound, I took advantage of it and adjusted the recipe accordingly. Also, Curtis calls for honey instead of maple syrup and pine nuts instead of pecans. I’m sure his ingredients are spot on, but as I was eating this dinner last night, I couldn’t have been happier with its outcome. If I ever see halibut on sale, I’ll surely pick some up to see how it fits into something. Until then, it’ll have to remain at the store.
For the Vinaigrette
1/3 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 Shallot, Finely Chopped
2 Tablespoons Real Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Dried Tarragon
Zest from 1 Orange
1/4 Cup Pecans, Chopped and Toasted
Regular Table Salt
Ground Black Pepper
For the Fish & Spinach
4 6-Ounce Cod Fillets, Skinless
1 Large Egg
Regular Table Salt
Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Regular Olive Oil
2 Shallots, Thinly Sliced
12 Ounces Baby Spinach
When you get to the section where you cook the cod, please read carefully. There’s a small secret when it comes to keeping the fish in one piece. With the use of flour and an egg, it won’t fall apart as it would without those ingredients.
Make the Vinaigrette
In a medium sized bowl, add the 1/3 cup of olive oil, the 1/4 cup of vinegar, the 1 chopped shallot, the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, the 1 tablespoon of dried tarragon, the orange zest and the chopped and toasted pecans. When toasting the pecans, I would chop first and then toast over medium heat for a few minutes. All you want to do is cook until their color becomes slightly darker and they begin to smell wonderful.
Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, go ahead and combine them well. After that, salt and pepper to taste. You should smell lots of orange. It’s pretty awesome.
Set aside for later use.
Cook the Fish
On a large plate, spread about 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour. Then, in a bowl right next to the plate, mix 1 large egg. Divide your cod into 4 equally sized pieces about 6 ounces each.
Heat your non-stick or cast iron skillet to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil. Coat each piece of fish with flour, shake off, and then coat with egg. When the skillet is to temperature, add the fish. Cook each side of fish for 3 minutes, without touching. Then, flip each piece of fish and cook the other side for 3 minutes. The fish should stay together because of the flour and the egg. It should also have browned on both sides.
When finished, remove the fish and set aside on a plate.
Cook the Spinach
It’s up to you if you want to use another skillet or to simply wipe out the one you cooked the fish in. To keep things warm, I heated up another skillet over medium-high heat as I was cooking the fish. When the fish was done, the other skillet was warm and ready to use.
In whichever skillet you decide on, add 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil. When the pan is warm, add in the 2 sliced shallots.
Cook the shallots for a few minutes, just until they begin to soften.
After that, add your baby spinach to the skillet.
Cook over the same temperature until the spinach wilts.
In the photo above, there is only some of the spinach. I began plating when I remembered that I needed a photo. There was definitely more than this.
When the spinach and shallots are cooked and softened, go ahead and divide them up between 4 plates. Then, add 1 piece of fish to each plate and spoon some vinaigrette over each piece of fish. Salt and pepper to taste.
The Final Dish
Like I said, this was a fairly fast recipe to put together. I really hope you like it. It’s got some tremendous flavor and is perfect for all sorts of occasions. While Laura and I ate this during the week, it can surely be used for something more special. It’s a great looking dish.
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