Pan-Seared Cod With Enoki Mushrooms and
Lardons in a Curried Carrot Broth
2 tablespoons good curry powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 quart fresh carrot juice
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into cubes
1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed, shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups mixed fresh mushrooms (chanterelles, enoki, or whatever
looks fresh), thinly sliced
6 thick hake fillets (about 1/2 pound each; cod or another
firm, flaky fish can be substituted)
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup canola oil
12 whole chives
Warm the curry powder in a small skillet over medium-high
heat until it becomes aromatic, then remove from heat and
allow it to cool. Combine with softened butter, and refrigerate
in a covered bowl until needed.
Boil carrot juice in a medium saucepan until reduced by half,
skimming off any solids that rise to the surface. Set aside.
Sauté the bacon cubes in a skillet until nicely brown
but not crisp. Remove bacon, drain on paper towels, and set
aside. Pour half the bacon fat into a bowl, leaving the rest
in the skillet. Add spinach, and sauté until wilted.
Season to taste with pepper, and set aside. Add reserved bacon
fat and mushrooms to the skillet, and sauté until they
are just cooked. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Using a sifter, very lightly dust each fish fillet with flour,
and season well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large
sauté pan over medium-high heat until ripples form. Add
three fish fillets to the pan, and brown for about 2 minutes
on each side, or until they take on a golden color. Repeat
with remaining fish. Place fish on a rack in a large baking
pan and cook in the oven 5 to 6 minutes, or until slightly
firm. Remove from oven, and cover the pan with a clean towel.
Reheat carrot broth to a fast simmer. Remove from heat, whisk
in 1/2 the curry butter (the remainder can be rolled in wax
paper and frozen), and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, set out six large, shallow soup bowls, place a generous
mound of spinach in the center of each, and set the fish on
top. Place teaspoons of bacon at six and twelve o’clock
on the bowl, followed by a generous tablespoon of mushrooms
at three and nine. Ladle about 1/4 cup carrot broth into the
bowl. Garnish with 2 chives.