Monday, December 27, 2010

Fish In A Pocket

I am very ashamed to say that I have been a very bad blogger and have not written anything in a long while.  But after my little Christmas break I thought I would post a few recipes of indulgence, since it is still the holiday season until the end of this week.  So I would say that definitely calls for a little indulgence until we all vow to live a calorie restricted life in the next year.

This post actually focuses on something that for the most part isn't usually considered indulgent (at least on the calorie scale)  However, it is amazing, and disturbing, how easily I was able to transform something that typically is associated with something completely healthy and turn it into something.....well....less healthy (isn't it amazing what puff pastry does to a person).  The inspiration for this recipe was very simple..beurre blanc.  For anyone who is not familiar with this wonderful creation it is quite simply a white wine and vinegar reduction emulsified with butter until it turns into this creamy, yummy, butt enlarging sauce that just happens to be AMAZING with fish.  Another culinary triumph for the French. 

I have to say that I might have had a little "Julie and Julia" moment thinking about this tasty number, and I knew right then and there that I had to create a calorie excessive recipe focusing on this little sauce.  Now even though this sauce is rich enough in its own right I found myself thinking how I could top its indulgence factor even more, and I figured what the hell, why not top it off with puff's Christmas right?  So what I ended up with was a heavenly, Macy's day float inducing, button busting dish....but I have to say a bit of a heart attack in a dinner.  So you might ask why, why make something so rich that makes your thighs grow like a Chia pet?  Because decadence is worth it, in small intervals anyway........and besides, it's the holidays.  I know....excuses, excuses.

Puff Pastry Wrapped Cod With
Sauteed Spinach, Mushrooms
And Beurre Blanc

Note: The Beurre Blanc is a recipe adapted from Julia Child's book Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, With Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle

Cook Time: 1 hour

1 package puff pastry (2 sheets)
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1lb fresh cod cut into four chunks
1lb fresh baby spinach
8oz shitake mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon cold water

Beurre Blanc:
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 white wine vinegar
1-1/2 cup butter cut into chunks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium saucepan combine the vinegar and white wine.  Cook on medium heat until the white wine and vinegar are reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly until all the butter is added and there is a thick sauce.  Whisk in the chives, lemon juice, zest, and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes.  Once wilted set the spinach aside and add the butter.  After the butter has melted add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Set the mushrooms aside and add the remaining olive oil.  Increase the heat to medium high.  Season the fish with the remaining salt and pepper.  Sear the fish on both sides and set aside.

On a well floured surface roll out one sheet of puff pastry into an 11-inch by 11-inch square.  Cut the puff pastry into four equal squares.  Spoon four equal portions of spinach into each square followed by four equal portions of the mushrooms.  Top the mushrooms with a piece of fish.  In a small bowl combine the beaten egg and water to make an egg wash.  Brush the edges of each pastry square with the egg wash. 

Roll out the second square of puff pastry in the same way.  Cut the four squares and place them over the fish.  Seal the edges with a well floured fork and place on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet.  Brush the top of each pocket with the egg wash and bake the fish pockets until the pastry is browned and puffed up, about 15 minutes.  Slice the pockets in half diagonally and serve with the beurre blanc.

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