the appetizer:

Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert, Featuring Over 100 Simple Recipes by Eric Ripert includes recipes like Shrimp in Coconut Curry Sauce; Portobello "Fries" with Truffled Aïoli; and Cod Basquaise.

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Cod Basquaise

Cod Basquaise

Serves 4


Cod is a delicious, sturdy, white-fleshed fish. So many people only know salted cod, but codfish is very versatile and can stand up to hearty sauces and strong cooking techniques. Inspired by the cacciucco I ate in Italy and my memory of the sauces of the Basque country, where I spent some time as a child, I developed this dish using a sauce with a tomato and red wine base.



Heat the olive oil in a heavy large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the ham and bell peppers and sauté until the peppers are soft, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the diced tomato and thyme and simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the red wine and cook out the alcohol, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt, white pepper and piment d'Espelette. This Basquaise can be made 1 day ahead; cool, then cover and refrigerate.

Heat a griddle or a griddle pan over medium-high heat until it is very hot, then add the canola oil. Season the cod on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the cod to the pan along with the thyme and garlic. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the fish is golden brown on the bottom, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the fish over and finish cooking until a metal skewer can be easily inserted into the fish and, when left in the fish for 5 seconds, feels just warm when touched to the lip, another 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the Basquaise until hot. Spoon the Basquaise onto plates, place the cod in the center and serve immediately.


Wine Pairings

A classic Basquaise (from the Basque region of Europe) sauce is made with red wine and a combination of peppers resulting in a very distinct flavor. Two very different wines have been chosen to pair with this recipe—Bordeaux as well as a Pinot Noir. Like the recipe, both of these selections have some complexity to their history as well as their flavor profiles.

Chateau Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan 2005, Bordeaux, France

Chateau Hout Bergey is located just south of Bordeaux in the town of Leognon. The size of the vineyard is 56 acres—60% planted in Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest in Merlot and the vines are 30 years old, which contributes to more complexity. The wine is very clean a pure in the fruit and the Cabernet Sauvignon delivers its typical firm Tannins that make Bordeaux so special. The exceptional Vintage 2005 is thought by many wine critics to be the vintage of the century.

Paul Cluver Pinot Noir 2008, Elgin Valley, South Africa

For the past few years wine makers seem to be very focused on growing grapes in so called "cool climate areas" where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir find ideal conditions. One of these areas is Elgin, South Africa. In a blind tasting, these wines can be tricky to identify because they have characteristics from the old and new world. That means that these wines have a very generous fruit (new world). medium in alcohol (old world), soft acidity (new world) and slightly firm tannins (old world). Paul Cluver is a family-run winery and their Pinot Noir is oriented on red Burgundy. It possesses fairly complex fruit with a beautiful earthiness and also shows some minerality which is quite unusual for a new world Pinot.


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This page created January 2011