Poached Cod with Browned Butter
I love poached fish with a little browned butter on top. It is so simple and basic. It reminds me of my childhood, when my mother poached halibut fillets that were frozen in blocks and packed in paper boxes. It was one of our favorite home cooked seafood dishes, not only because it was delicious but, at the time, fresh fish was rarely available where we lived. I have revised Mom's recipe since finding fresh fish is no longer a problem. However, you can still use frozen, following package directions for cooking time.
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 5 cups water
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 large sprig fresh dill
- 1 medium lemon, halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-1/2 pounds cod fillets, or other firm, white-fleshed fish
- 4 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted
Place wine, water, bay leaf, dill, half of the lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Add the olive oil and the dill weed. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the fish fillets and gently simmer, uncovered, until fish just starts to flake when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes depending on thickness. Remove fillets from pan.
Meanwhile, place the butter in a small skillet. Heat over medium-high until nicely browned, being careful not to burn. The browner it is, the more flavor it has. Place the fish on individual plates and drizzle with the butter. Serve immediately with lemon wedges cut from the remaining lemon half.
Notes: It is best to brown the butter in a stainless skillet. If you use a dark or nonstick skillet, it is difficult to determine when the butter is ready because there is no color contrast between the pot and the browned butter. In a pinch, the fish can be poached in lightly salted water without the wine or herbs, but I would add the lemon. Be certain to cook the fish at a very gentle simmer.