Friday, October 17, 2014

Cod with Capers, Collards and A Crisp Pear Tart

Battle Harbor, Labrador

A perfect autumn dinner for 4

Warm Autumn Greetings Everyone!

This September, I fell in love with Battle Harbor in Labrador – a national historic site where cod fishing reigned supreme for over 100 years until the 1990’s when it was shut down.  The tall schooners and world freighters that entered this tiny beautiful port must have been a site to behold.  The people we met who worked at the old general store, wharf buildings and museums grew up with the industry and had wonderful stories to tell.  We were the very few visiting the island and let it's wistful magic wash over of us for 3 days.  Captain Peary actually told the world he found the North Pole from the radio tower on this island.  Learning about the Cod fishing industry was fascinating. This fish is one of my very favorite fish to cook.. so it was wonderful to learn so much about the value this fish had back then, AND how it was fished and salted to travel all over the world. 

I have been looking for the perfect cod dinner recipe and love Jacques Pepin who recently aired the most delightful recipe, perfect for fall using horseradish, capers, olives and cilantro.. an excellent flavor combo for this fish.   Coupled with sautéed collards or roasted brussels sprouts and an amazingly quick and delicious crisp pear tart dessert (hint, it uses are tortilla for the crust) – it is sure to be a keeper for those special autumn evenings.   All you need to know is below.   Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Jacques Pépin.

If cod isn't available, use fillets from another fleshy, white fish in this elegant and easy dish.
4 cod fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick (5-6 ounces each)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup dry, fruity white wine (such as an Alsace)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 oil-cured seedless black olives
1 1/2 tablespoons small capers, drained
2 tablespoons horseradish, freshly grated or bottled
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Put the cod, onion, wine, salt and pepper in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and boil gently 2 minutes. (The cod will be undercooked at this point.) With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the cod to a platter, cover it and set it aside to continue cooking in its own residual heat.
Add the olives, capers, horseradish and sour cream to the pan and bring to a boil.
Arrange a cod fillet on each of 4 plates and top with the sauce. Sprinkle the cilantro over. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Wonderful link to preparation of collards and 7 ways to cook them to your liking.
I prefer an easy sautee with olive oil, garlic, hot pepper and vinegar.


To make sure the flour tortilla crust is crisp and caramelized on the bottom, butter and sugar the underside before the pears are added to the top. The pears should be firm but ripe.
Some of the butter and sugar may run out from the bottom of the tart, and the tart may burn slightly around the rim, but burnt edges can be trimmed, if desired.


  • 1 7- or 8-inch flour tortilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 medium Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, cored and each cut into 12 wedges (about 3/4 pound total)
  • 3 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted pistachio nuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
Place the tortilla in the center of the baking sheet, then spread 1 tablespoon of the butter on the top of the tortilla and sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Turn the tortilla over so the buttered side is facing down.
Beginning at the edge of the tortilla, arrange the pear wedges in a concentric circle, with the thin edge of each wedge facing the tortilla's center. Create another slightly overlapping circle, working in toward the center. Add more rows with the remaining wedges, ending with a few pear pieces in the center to complete what will look like a large rose. Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into pieces and use them to dot the top of the apples. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the pear slices are tender and the tortilla is crisp and browned. Remove from the oven, set aside for a minute or so, then lift the tart with a spatula and transfer it to a wire rack to cool, discarding any burned bits around it.
If the apricot preserves are too thick to use as a glaze, heat them in a microwave oven for about 10 seconds to liquefy them, then spread or brush them on top of the tart.
Cut the tart into 4 wedges, sprinkle with the pistachios and serve at room temperature.

Adapted from "Jacques Pepin: More Fast Food My Way" (Houghton Mifflin, 2008).
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