Cod crusted with pistachios
Pistachios add an exotic touch in this easy recipe. It will be even simpler if you can find shelled pistachios with their skins already removed. If not, the process of removing the skins to reveal the bright green interior of the pistachios takes only about five minutes.
For best results, use very fresh fish. If cod is not available where you live, substitute another white-fleshed fish. In either case, the fish should be substantial enough to produce individual pieces at least 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick.
Serve the fish with seasonal vegetables, pasta or potatoes. The ingredients listed below will serve three people. If cooking for one or two, reduce the quantities of fish and pistachios as appropriate — the quantities of the other ingredients remain the same.
1 whole fresh cod fillet (about 1 pound, or 500 g)
3 tbsp. shelled raw pistachios
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 lemon, halved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the cod fillet into three pieces. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the pistachios and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain. When cool enough to handle, slip the pistachios out of their skins. They will be bright green, as shown in the before and after photo. Dry them with a paper towel. Place on a flat board, gather them into a pile and crush with a rolling pin. Repeat several times until all the pistachios are crushed.
Pat the crushed pistachios onto the top of the cod pieces. No need to crust the bottom.
Measure the flour onto a plate. Dip each cod fillet in the flour — both sides — and brush away the excess to leave just a thin coating.
Heat the oil and butter to sizzling in a skillet, preferably non-stick. Gently place the cod fillets in the skillet, pistachioed side down. Sauté for 2 minutes. Flip the fish very gently, cover the skillet, and sauté 2 minutes more, or until cooked through.
Squeeze one half of the lemon over the cod, sprinkle with salt and grind on some black pepper. Cut the other lemon half into wedges.
Serve piping hot, with lemon wedges on the side. Serves 3.
When I first had this dish, at a neighborhood bistro, it was served with a horseradish-flavored potato purée alongside — a delightful combination!