Need a great, easy, healthy meal featuring summer vegetables and suitable for entertaining? Plus, one that doesn’t have to be grilled (since we’ve been having so many severe thunderstorms)? Take a look at this dinner from last week:
The story: Years ago (15 maybe?), my husband and I used to go to a restaurant called Van Gogh’s in Roswell, GA – a suburb of Atlanta. Our favorite item on the menu was a sea bass recipe with a corn sauce, haricots vert and crispy potato matchsticks on top. Eventually, they changed the menu, to our great disappointment, and then they even changed the restaurant. It is now called Bistro VG and although owned by the same people the focus is different. Fast forward to last year. We were out having dinner at different restaurant called Vinny’s that is owned by the same people. We saw a cod dish on the menu that looked very similar to the sea bass that we used to get. Needless to say, we both ordered it. It was delicious and came very close to what we remembered. Within a week I was trying to recreate that dish at home. This is the result of my experimenting.
Now, on to the cooking!! There are four components to this meal – sautéed cod, a creamy corn sauce (containing no cream), sautéed vegetables and a tomato concasse. The corn sauce and tomato concasse can both be made ahead. The fish and vegetables need to be served immediately after cooking but sauté very quickly on the stove. The corn sauce, tomatoes & vegetables all serve 4-6 people. Cook as much cod as you need.
Creamy Corn Sauce
Modified from a recipe by Ellie Krieger on FineCooking.com
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tsp flour
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc)
- 1 3/4 cup low salt chicken broth
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 2 tsp butter
- Salt & pepper
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté onion until soft but not browned. Add flour & cook 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until reduced in half. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add corn and cook 10-15 minutes.
Take off heat. Purée in blender, being VERY careful of the steam (I take the inner piece off the top and cover it with a kitchen towel). Pour back into the pot and set aside. Rewarm before serving and stir in butter. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
This is really just diced tomatoes that have been marinating for a little. If you have the time & the inclination you should peel & seed your tomatoes. I prefer to use all of the tomato, partly for the nutrients and partly because I just don’t have the time or the inclination.
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
Combine tomatoes, oil & vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for up to several hours. Season with sea salt just before serving.
1 cod fillet per person
Blot cod fillets dry very well with paper towels. This will help the fish to brown instead of steam. Season both sides with salt & pepper. Heat a large fry pan over high heat. Add about 3 Tbsp regular olive oil. Swirl around to cover pan. Add cod and reduce heat to medium high. Sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately.
- 2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
- 8 oz haricots vert (fancy French-style skinny green beans)
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Heat oil in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté green beans & corn together just until the beans turn bright green. Season with salt & pepper. Serve immediately.
Spoon some of the corn sauce in the middle of the plate. Place a cod fillet on top of the corn. Spoon some of the corn & green bean mixture on top of the cod (some will fall off, this is okay). Use a slotted spoon to scatter some of the tomatoes around the corn sauce.
- Use salmon, chicken or shrimp instead of the cod
- Prepare your protein choice on the grill instead of sautéing
- Add some chopped basil to the tomato concasse and serve it with toasted bread as bruschetta
- Skip the corn sauce and serve with mashed potatoes, rice or risotto.
- Add some kalamata olives to the tomato concasse, use balsamic vinegar instead of the red wine and serve with grilled flank steak
- Switch out the vegetables depending on what’s fresh and your preferences – other good choices would be snap peas, red peppers, regular green beans. Adjust cooking times as needed
- If your diners are not big vegetable eaters cut the corn sauce, tomatoes & vegetables in half
- Only make one or two components of my meal – whatever sounds most appealing