LING COD WITH PRESERVED LEMON

EACH YEAR, I WAIT FOR LING COD TO APPEAR IN THE FISH CASE IN MY MARKET, BECAUSE IT IS SO JUICY AND FLAVORFUL, SO ADAPTABLE TO A RANGE OF PREPARATIONS.  YOU CAN POACH IT, STEAM IT, ROAST IT, OR, IN THIS CASE, PAN COOK IT.  SERVE IT WITH A SORREL BUERRE BLANC, PUTTANESCA WITH TOMATOES AND OLIVES, BATHE IT IN PESTO, OR DRAPE IT WITH HOLLANDAISE. IN THIS PARTICULAR RECIPE, THE FISH ITSELF IS THE STAR, SKIN-SEARED, SLIGHTLY STEAMED, NAPPED WITH BUTTER AND PAN JUICES.  THE ORZO, HOWEVER, IS SPIKED WITH THE SALTY, LEMONY PUNCH OF PRESERVED LEMON; LEMONS CURED IN SEA SALT AND LEMON JUICE AND PRESERVED IN OLIVE OIL.  YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN (SEE “PRESERVED LEMONS” UNDER “BASICS” IN THE ARCHIVES) OR BUY A JAR IN A SPECIALTY FOOD STORE.  THEY KEEP FOR A LONG TIME IN THE FRIDGE AND ARE A GREAT SEASONING FOR CHICKEN, LAMB, SOUPS, AND SALADS.  MAKE SURE TO HAVE YOUR FISHMONGER GIVE YOU UNIFORMLY THICK PIECES OF COD WITH THE SKIN ON.  DRY THOROUGHLY.  SEAR IN VERY HOT OIL SO THE SKIN DOESN’T STICK. COVERING THE FISH ALLOWS IT TO FINISH MORE GENTLY.  IT’S A TECHNIQUE THAT’S GOOD TO MASTER SINCE YOU CAN APPLY IT TO PRACTICALLY ANY THICK FILLETS SUCH AS BASS, GROUPER, TILEFISH, OR SNAPPER.
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