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Ramping Around

Lent is an uplifting time for me. A time of spiritual healing, reflection and joy. Lent also generates countless opportunities to push my culinary edge to new boundaries. Of course, all this happens without the use of any kind of meat, and prescribes dishes rich in seafood and vegetables.

Today, having come across a few mentions of baccala' mantecato, I decided to use it as the inspiration for my own dish. Fresh cod replaces the more bold salted fish in my version of a mantecato, a word used to describe a creamy paste or spread.

Keeping with a theme of spring, a warm tossed salad of poached ramps and fennel slices topped with a light smoke trout cream, completes this days meal.

Sunday Menu
Cod Fish Mantecato 
Creamy Tarragon White Polenta
Cod Filets over  Warm Ramp and Fennel Salad
Salad greens Smoked Trout Cream Dressing (not shown)

Braised Cod Fish with Fennel  Hearts and Ramps

Braised Cod with Ramps, and Fennel Hearts
This is a very light dish, low in carbs, and rich in flavor, therefore perfect for dieters.  I worked with ramps only  a few times, mainly because they are seasonal , and generally hard to find.

Preparation Notes 
Blanche the ramps and the Fennel, individually , remove from skillet . Use the same skillet with oils to cook the Cod Fish filets , Turn them using a fish cooking spatula , ensuring that the flaky fish does not fall apart.

Plate the filets over a bed of ramps and fennel hearts


Want to learn about Ramps, read this posts I came across.  http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Ramp.html


Tarragon White Polenta with Cod "Mantecato"

Ingredients
3/4 lbs of fresh cod fish
1/2 clove of fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
Pinch of ground nutmeg 
2 tablespoon of Irish butter 
2 tablespoons of Creme Fraiche

S/P. EVOO


So you might have been thinking , "Here he goes again with another Baccala' dish".  Proved you wrong. Right ? Nope this was not salty and savory Baccala', but a more delicate combination of flavors.  A fresh cod fish cooked and flavored in a similar style,  but it is certainly a uniquely different dish.

Preparation Notes 

Poach the cod fish in salt water. drain and then chill. Add all ingredients to blender, puree' on low. Season accordingly with black pepper and salt. Adjust EVOO quantity until the right consistency is reached.

Cook the polenta in salted water that was flavored with some fresh tarragon. Remove the tarragon leaves before adding the polenta.   Dish out in added a few tablespoons of savory mantecato. When eating , combine spoonfuls of both ingredients.

Bon Appetit!

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