Paprika-Coated Cod with Cilantro-Walnut Sauce
- SERVINGS: 4
Penzeys Ltd sells two kinds of Hungarian paprika: Sweet Kulonleges and Half Sharp. The sweet is a blend of mild paprika peppers, the Half Sharp of some spicier varieties. Jan Newberry combines the two to make a crust for flaky codfish, then uses the Half Sharp to add an edge to the accompanying cilantro-nut sauce. The fish is also lovely with just a simple squeeze of lemon.
- 1/3 cup walnut halves
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- Four 6-ounce skinless cod fillets, about 3/4 inch thick
- 1 1/2 cups packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the vegetable oil and a large pinch of salt. On a plate, combine the flour with the sweet paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of the hot paprika.
- Dip each fish fillet in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off. Coat the fillets with the seasoned flour and arrange them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Refrigerate the fish until the coating has set, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine the cilantro with the lemon juice, walnuts and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of hot paprika; pulse to combine. With the machine on, slowly add all but 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and process until blended. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the fish and fry over moderately high heat until the coating is crisp and the fish is cooked though, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plates and serve with the cilantro-walnut sauce.
The tender cod gets dual kicks from the paprika batter and the tangy sauce. Serve a chilled, fragrant California Viognier.