May 11, 2015
My friend and business partner at Tilia, Steven Brown, has been working with the Norwegian Seafood Council to help promote, well, Norwegian seafood. He recently featured a fish special at Tilia that apparently was so sublime that a friend of Fast Horse reached out to me, asking if she might be able to get her hands on the recipe.
Chef Brown, being the swell guy and ace promoter that he is, hooked her up. Now I’m hooking you up. You’re welcome.
Skrei Cod with Spaghettini, Mushrooms and Lemon Butter
Created by: Steven Brown, Executive Culinary Director, Tilia
We worked with the Norwegian Seafood Council to get this cod, which is only available in the winter and early spring. As an alternative, I would recommend halibut or sea bass for white fish, but you could certainly use salmon or char.
You’ll need about 5 ounces of fish. Let’s get started!
For the Hand-rolled Pasta:
1 c. fine durum flour
1 tsp. salt
1 egg plus one egg yolk
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. whole milk
Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately. If making by hand, make a well and pour the egg mixture in the center and stir slowly to make the dough and knead by hand for 10-12 minutes, until it forms a smooth elastic ball.
If using a mixer with the dough hook attachment, add the wet slowly to form the dough and mix for 8 to 10 minutes.
Wrap in plastic wrap and reserve. You can make 2-3 days ahead and keep in the fridge.
Roll the dough in a pasta roller with the widest setting, then folding it over itself in halves or thirds until it feels right — like a very nice piece of leather — and is a nice rectangle that just fits in the roller. Roll through thinner settings in sequence (don’t skip!) to desired thinness, about a sixteenth of an inch.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. We use 7 liters with 70 grams kosher salt (100:1)
For the Side: Mushroom Salad
Make a little raw mushroom salad in a bowl by shaving button mushrooms (we have used porcini too, which are great if you can get them), some Italian parsley, chives and chervil along with some parmesan curls. Don’t dress it until right before you serve it. This just saves time for later.
The Main Course
Liberally season the fish with kosher salt and black pepper (it helps to have it be near room temperature) then cook it on one side in a hot pan with oil, add a good tablespoon of unsalted butter, 3 or 4 pieces of paper-thin slivered garlic and a tablespoon of brunoised shallot. The butter will brown and caramelize the shallots and garlic. Spoon this over the fish until it is nearly cooked through — 3-4 minutes — add a squeeze of lemon and some parsley or chives. Spoon that over the fish, and before the parsley browns, remove and rest on a paper towel.
Meanwhile, heat another pan and add a little oil and sweat out another 2 teaspoons of shallots. When they are opaque, deglaze with 2 tablespoons white wine and reduce until it is almost evaporated. Add 1/4 cup unseasoned chicken or vegetable stock and reduce to 2 tablespoons. Lower heat and add 1/4 cup unsalted butter and swirl around to emulsify (you don’t want it to separate). Remove from heat — and drop the pasta in the water!
We use a fine strainer with a handle to kind of “fish” the pasta from the water versus pouring it out. Partly because we reuse the water, partly because as the water gets starchy, we use it to help season and emulsify the sauce. It’s an old Italian trick. Only a tablespoon or two at a time. Anyway, the pasta cooks quickly – 1 or 2 minutes, tops – and you want it to be a little under-done – this is because it will still cook and also as it finishes cooking in the sauce, it melds the flavors.
When you think it is about right, pull it from the pot and drain 95 percent of the water, then add to the sauce and then add a little pasta water as described to get a nice coating on the noodles. Feel free to reduce it on the stove over low heat, but be careful. Add a little parmesan, and some more pasta water as needed. It’ll stay hot, so don’t feel like you have to portion it immediately. You can add a few more dribbles of pasta water if it is dry. Remember: You don’t want soup, you want a nice silky coating on the noodles. Add a squeeze of lemon and a little extra virgin olive oil. Taste it. Have an open mind. Season until you like it. Maybe you think it needs some cracked black pepper? Go for it!
When you are ready, portion the pasta and place the fish on top. Dress the salad and scatter around the plate. Serve immediately.