By Kristy Del Coro
This dish is a beautiful combination of textures along with bold and bright flavors. And it is easy enough for a weeknight dinner yet fancy enough for a dinner party!
What's special about this recipe? Well first, instead of using traditional breading and traditional breading technique (flour, egg, breadcrumbs), I dip the fish in frothy egg whites and chopped pecans, adding fantastic crunch plus good fats and fiber. Second, a homemade smoky romesco (which is a real flavor bomb) provides the perfect balance to the natural sweetness of the pecans and leeks and adds a huge nutritional boost. Traditional Spanish romesco is made using hazelnuts or almonds as well as tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, bread, olive oil, and vinegar. This version features pecans instead of hazelnuts and almonds and omits the bread but still has the hallmark flavors of a romesco including the peppers, garlic, sherry vinegar and smoked paprika. Romesco can easily be made in advance and stored in the fridge, or even frozen to extend its shelf life (thaw overnight in the fridge). It not only goes with this dish but is also equally delicious with meat and veggies or just as a dip with some toasted bread. Once you make this romesco, it will likely become a fixture in your fridge staples (move over hummus!). The dish pictured here is served with blanched broccolini but feel free to swap with another favorite seasonal vegetable such as potatoes, green beans, or mushrooms.
Pecan Crusted Cod
4 4-oz filets of cod or similar white fish (i.e. hake, haddock, halibut, cusk, or pollock)
Kosher salt and Ground black pepper to taste
2 egg whites, beaten until frothy
1 cup crushed or finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 400F and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Gently dip one side of each fish filet into frothy egg whites. Then dip the same side into crushed pecans so that the one side is completely covered in pecans.
Place crusted fish on parchment lined sheet tray and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fish is opaque and starts to flake. The exact cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
When fish is cooked through, remove from the oven and serve on the bed of Melted Leeks plus the Pecan Romesco (see recipes below) and a side of blanched broccolini. Enjoy while warm!
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch Leeks (about 3-4 each), white and light green parts only, sliced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil into a large skillet and heat on medium. Add sliced leeks and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt (this helps draw out the natural moisture in the leeks). Stir to coat evenly with oil and salt. Cover with a lid and turn heat down to low. Allow the leeks to sweat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent from burning. When leeks begin to soften, uncover and allow any natural liquid to evaporate.
Leeks are ready when they soften and "melt in your mouth" when you taste them; at this point, remove from heat and set aside.
Yields ~3 cups
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
2 tomatoes on the vine, roasted
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 large clove raw garlic
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well combined. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
Note: If you want a chunkier dip, use a food processor. If you want a smoother consistency to use a sandwich spread or sauce, such as in this recipe, use a high speed blender.