There are rules –
Never run with scissors,,,,
Look both ways before crossing the street…
Never burn bridges with a former employer…
Don’t stick your finger in the electrical outlet…
Never.. Ever cook cheese with fish….
… And while with most of those there is some bit of common sense going on, it’s that bit about cheese & fish that’s never rang very true. I mean, every fish sandwich out there has a big ol’ slice of cheddar on it – and tuna melts are just bubbling with melted Swiss. So, why is it that culinary snobs the world over pale and froth at the mouth about cheese and fish…..
Eh, I’ll never know.
But, that question brings us to tonight’s recipe. I’ve been seeing a resurgence of an old dinner mainstay lately – The Mayo / Parmesan Crusted Chicken. I hadn’t eaten it in years, so when it came time to work up the week’s dinner menu, I thought – “why the hell not?” You know, it was delicious! I mean… really delicious…. kinda tangy – kinda crunchy – moist, flavorful chicken.
And somewhere back in the monkey brain part of my head I hear, “You know… I bet that would be good on cod, too.”
So, a week… a recipe tweak… a couple of dry runs later, we have…
Key Lime Crusted Cod
Although the recipe is for key limes, if you don’t have one – don’t worry. Instead of using regular limes, substitute 1/2 of a lemon (zest and juice). You wont get exactly the same flavor but you will come close. Regular limes tend to be overpowering and will mask the flavor of the coating… the fish… and anything else on the plate.
1 (1 pound) Cod Fillet
For the Coating:
1 Cup Mayonnaise (a good tart brand… or make your own from HERE)
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Key Lime (Zest and Juice)
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
For the Crust:
2 Cups Fresh Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Chopped Parsley
Zest of 1 Key Lime
For the Vegetable RAFT:
1/2 Large Onion, Sliced
2 Ribs Celery, cut into matchsticks
1/2 Cup Shredded Cabbage
2 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks (like shoestring fries)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
Tools of the Trade:
Shallow Baking Dish (large enough to accommodate your fillet)
Several Micro Safe Bowls
Step 1 – Coating:
In a small bowl, mix together all the coating ingredients – stirring well to combine. Cover and Chill until you are ready.
Step 2 – Crust:
Mix the crust ingredients together and set aside
Step 3 – Raft:
You’re going to need the microwave here – so don’t get all wiggy about it. Place the potatoes water and salt in a micro safe container and cook on high for 4 minutes – Drain.
Place the remaining veg and garlic in a micro safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 3 minutes . Remove the plastic and add the potato sticks and olive oil. Gently toss well to evenly coat the raft mixture.
Spread the vegetable raft evenly across the bottom of a shallow baking dish.
Step 4 – The Fish:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the fillet on a working surface and pat dry
Evenly spread all the coating mixture over the top of the fillet
Completely cover the top of the fillet with the bread crumbs
Gently transfer the prepared fish to the vegetable raft
Place in the center shelf of the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes – or until the thickest part of the fillet separate and flakes easily.
What you end up with is a beautifully crisp crust covering a rich, thick, tangy tartar sauce, over perfectly baked white fish.
It’s a symphony, I tell you…. A cheesy, Fishy, SYMPHONY.