I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s -all those silly chalky conversation hearts that taste like Tums just don’t do it for me. Most years it just feels like another “Hallmark holiday” – I mean, if you truly love someone, do you really need a special day during the year to tell them? I follow the belief that you should celebrate love every day, no matter what the occasion
Maybe living far away from all of our friends and family changes that sentiment a bit though, because this year we both felt that we needed to properly celebrate Valentine’s Day. We didn’t do anything extravagant or exciting, just a fun home-cooked dinner with some wine, staying warm together inside watching the Olympics while outside the sky teased us with hints of snow flurries.
What could be more elegant than soft, buttery cod that literally melts in your mouth with every bite? No need for a knife with this meal. That’s the beauty of poached fish – it is relatively inexpensive and so simple to make, but when done correctly can elicit such rich taste that you have to make an effort to tell yourself that you are not sitting in a 5 star restaurant. This is not a traditional beurre blanc sauce. Normally you would cook the shallots and reduce wine with vinegar, only adding in the butter off the heat to make it creamy and smooth. For this, I did things a bit differently. Shallots and thyme were sauteed in a lot of butter, and then wine was whisked in. The filets were then poached in the wine and butter until soft and tender. When I lifted them out of the pan they were already flaking apart beautifully, just the way cod should be.
To accompany the fish, we made spiced lentils out of my current favorite cookbook, Gordon Ramsay’s Maze. We ate here in NYC as a mini celebration for each other right after our anniversary, so it seemed perfect to make something that came from one of our favorite restaurants. My husband made the crème fraiche mashed potatoes with rosemary and chives and brought out the chilled Sancerre, finishing the last component to the meal.
So while we are not big on the gushy gushy stuff, Valentine’s was the perfect excuse for making a decadent private dinner for us to share. Love does not have to be said with big boxes of candy hearts. Sometimes it can be said just by the act of cooking and eating together.
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
4 cod filets
sea salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary, finely chopped
a couple sprigs of thyme
8 tbs. (about a stick) of butter
1.5 cups of dry white wine
1. Rub all of the filets generously with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and set aside. Melt about half the butter in a medium sized skillet and saute the shallots and thyme until the shallots are softened. Add in the rest of the butter and whisk until all is melted.
2. Whisk in the wine and let reduce at a simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in 2 filets at a time, and let poach. Poach for a few minutes on one side and then carefully flip over and let poach for a few more minutes until all is white and soft. Remove from the pan and plate. Repeat with the other two filets. Serve with some butter/wine sauce on top. Enjoy!
Submitted to this week’s What Can I Eat That’s Gluten Free?