Cod Cheeks and Lentils
Recipe by Taylor McMeekin
This creamy lentil dish combines the richness of our handline-caught cod and the bright tangy flavours of a Beurre Blanc sauce.
1lb Fogo Island Cod Cheeks (you can substitute bite-sized pieces of cod)
1 cup brown, green, or beluga lentils
3 cups water
3 shallots, peeled and halved
3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
3 tbsp. sugar
1.5 tbsp. kosher salt
750ml white wine (make sure you would drink it but does not have to be expensive)
¾ cup white wine vinegar
½ block of butter (cubed and cold)
¼ cup flour or gluten-free flour
Local watercress or arugula, for garnish
For the lentils:
Combine 3 cups of water, 1 shallot, 1 garlic clove, half of the thyme and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Add lentils and reduce to simmer, cooking until lentils are tender but not mushy (about 12-15 minutes). Strain and allow to cool before removing aromatics.
For the Beurre Blanc:
Combine wine, 1 shallot, 1 garlic clove, 1 sprig thyme, the remaining bay leaf, 4 peppercorns, 2 tbsp. sugar, and 1 tbsp. salt in a sauce pot and reduce by ¾. Strain into heat-proof container, discarding everything but the wine. Pour half of the wine reduction back into the sauce pot and reserve the remaining.
In a separate sauce pot, combine white wine vinegar with the remaining shallot, garlic, thyme, salt and sugar, and reduce until slightly syrupy. Strain into heat-proof container, discard everything but the vinegar. Add half of the vinegar to the wine reduction. Add the other half of the vinegar to the reserved wine reduction. Put to the side, as you’ll return to this sauce later!
For the cod cheeks:
Separate cod cheeks (or cut cod into bite-sized pieces) and place on a lightly floured plate, season with salt and dust with a little more flour. Heat a pan on the stovetop (cast iron works best) and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is heated, remove excess flour from cheeks and add to the pan. Flip when cod cheeks are golden brown and continue frying for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let drain on a cloth-lined plate. Repeat this process until all your cod cheeks/pieces are cooked.
To finish the Beurre Blanc:
Return the wine mixture to heat, letting it come to boil for one minute. Turn the heat down to low and add the cold cubed butter. Let the butter melt for 15–20 seconds, then use an emersion blender to emulsify*. Ensure the butter is fully incorporated, then stir in the cooked lentils. Ladle the mixture into a bowl and top with the cooked cod cheeks. Garnish with arugula or watercress before serving!
*Sometimes this can be a little tricky and your sauce can split. To help prevent splitting, ensure your butter is cold (not room temperature) and that you do not allow it to melt for too long. If your sauce does split, just use your reserved wine and vinegar mixture and try again.