Elk Spice, Matthew Kammerer’s mixture of northern California seeds and spices, brings a slightly wild and floral flavor that perfumes the mild, sweet cod. The heat from the grill will char the outside of the herb bundles while steaming the stalks and herbs inside. Find dried chrysanthemum flowers online at starwest-botanicals.com.

July 2019


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

1 hr 20 mins


Herb Bundles


  • Whisk together shoyu, lemon juice, and melted clarified butter in a small grill-safe saucepan; set aside.

  • Place seaweed in a coffee grinder or spice grinder; process until coarsely ground, about 10 seconds. Add chrysanthemum flowers; process until coarsely ground, about 10 seconds. Add turmeric, piment d’Espelette, nigella seeds, peppercorns, ginger, and coriander seeds; process until finely ground, about 20 seconds. Measure 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Elk Spice into a small bowl. (Store remaining Elk Spice in an airtight container up to 1 week.)

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium; continue cooking, whisking often, until butter turns golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the reserved Elk Spice; cook, whisking constantly, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 10 seconds. Remove from heat. Measure 1/4 cup Elk butter into a small grill-safe saucepan, and reserve for serving. Set aside remaining Elk butter (about 6 tablespoons) in a small bowl for grilling.

  • Cut 12 (10-inch-long) pieces of kitchen twine. Working in 4 batches, lay 3 of the twine pieces horizontally on a work surface about 2 inches apart. Arrange 4 mustard green leaves, vein side down, on a separate work surface, from smallest to largest, with larger leaves overlapping the smaller leaves, to create a roughly 12-inch-long shape. Stack 2 kale leaves, 2 Broccolini spears, and 1 cup herb-flower mix on top of the smallest mustard green leaf (and, for a bouquet effect, place some flowers toward the tops of the greens). Starting with the stacked end, roll leaves into a tight cylinder shape (it will resemble a flower bouquet). Lay the bundle vertically on top of the 3 horizontal kitchen twine pieces; tie tightly to secure. If needed, trim bottom of bundle to create a straight edge. Repeat procedure with remaining kitchen twine, mustard greens, kale, Broccolini, and herb-flower mix.

  • Preheat grill to high (450°F to 500°F). Sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon reserved Elk Spice evenly over flesh sides of cod fillets. Lightly brush cod fillets on both sides with some of the reserved 6 tablespoons Elk butter in small bowl; place cod, skin side down, on oiled grates, and season with salt to taste. Grill, uncovered, brushing often with some of the Elk butter, until skin is crisp and browned, about 6 minutes, turning 90 degrees after 3 minutes. Gently flip fillets; grill, uncovered, until just cooked through and warm in the center, about 2 minutes, turning 90 degrees after 1 minute. Gently remove fillets from grill; cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

  • Lightly brush rolled herb bundles all over with remaining Elk butter in small bowl. Place on oiled grates; grill, uncovered, turning and basting often, until outer leaves are charred in spots and all leaves soften and easily collapse when gently squeezed with a pair of tongs, 5 to 8 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, place saucepan with shoyu dressing and saucepan with reserved 1/4 cup Elk butter on grates over coolest area of grill; heat until warmed through and butter is melted, about 1 minute. Remove from grill.8. Transfer grilled herb bundles to a work surface; remove and discard kitchen twine. Working with 1 bundle at a time, cut a slit from about 1 inch from the top to about 1 inch from the bottom (do not cut all the way through). Gently pull bundle open at the slit, and fluff the inner cooked greens with your hands (creating a stuffed baked potato–like appearance). Repeat procedure with remaining bundles. Season with salt to taste, and drizzle evenly with warm shoyu dressing. Garnish with herbs and flowers.

  • Gently transfer 1 herb bundle to each of 4 plates. Place 1 cod fillet next to each bundle. Stir warm Elk butter in saucepan, and spoon evenly over fillets. Serve immediately.

Serve With

Sea lettuce is a type of algae found in bays and rocky areas. It’s slightly salty and briny and can be purchased on Amazon. White soy sauce is golden and much milder and slightly sweeter than traditional soy sauce. Made from a higher ratio of wheat to soybeans, it has a delicate flavor that won’t overwhelm other ingredients; find it at mikuniwildharvest.com. Find dried chrysanthemum flowers online or at Asian grocery stores. 

Suggested Pairing

Spicy, dry Gewürztraminer.