by Paul Manthe, Downtown Deli
Bring restaurant flair to your home kitchen with pan roasting—a simple restaurant technique that will elevate your dinner to a whole new level. Just a few simple ingredients and you could be dining on this Pan Roasted Ling Cod for dinner tonight!
There are a few restaurant techniques that lend themselves to use by home cooks, and can greatly ease the task of home cooking. Pan roasting is one such technique that requires no special equipment, other than an oven-going skillet, and doesn’t require hours of preparation either.
If you possess a skillet, a spatula, and a standard kitchen range with an oven, you can pan roast like a professional.
The idea is to quickly sear your food in a hot pan, then turn it over and finish cooking it in the oven, a technique usually applied to meat, but can also work quite well with some vegetables.
In this instance, I’m using a locally available fish with locally sourced hazelnuts to create one of my own favorite applications of pan roasting.
Pan Roasted Ling Cod with Hazelnut Butter
- ling cod fillet, one-half pound portion per person
- 1 stick butter, softened (but not melted)
- handful of roasted hazelnuts, crushed (see below)
- few sprigs of fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- cooking oil
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one oven rack on the middle rails to center your pan and help fish to cook evenly.
- Crush hazelnuts using either the flat of a large knife, the bottom of a bowl, or a food processor. Crumble into a sort of mealy texture with a few larger chunks, not a fine powder.
- Strip thyme leaves off the stem, and mince.
- In a small bowl, add softened butter, hazelnuts, and thyme leaves. Gently knead the butter to incorporate ingredients; folding it in on itself a few times should do the trick. Form butter into a cylinder, wrap in the paper it came in, and cool in the refrigerator to harden a bit.
- Check fillet for pin bones, and remove them with your fingernails or tweezers.
- Cut fillet into individual portions. Half pound per person is usual, but use more or less as you like. It’s your meal, after all.
- Heat skillet over medium high heat, add a splash of oil. You want the pan hot, but not smoking hot. Just heat until the oil swirls easily around the pan.
- Place fillet in the pan, skin side up if it has skin. I prefer the skin left on for this technique since I find it helps retain moisture in the meat. Many people don’t like to bother with skin. To each their own.
- Cook just until flesh underneath begins to color, a little bit of brown along the edge is good, not too much. Quickly slide your spatula under the fillet from end to end, not from the middle, as this tends to break it. Carefully turn over the fillet and turn off the burner under the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and transfer to the middle rack of preheated oven to finish.
- Bake approximately 10 minutes per pound of fish.
- While the fish is in the oven, remove butter from the refrigerator. Slice off one round of butter, about as thick as your little finger, per portion of fish and set aside. Save the rest of the butter to anoint other future efforts, like steamed vegetables or another piece of fish.
- When cooking time is up, check fish for doneness by pressing gently with your finger to make sure it flakes easily. If it begins to break, your fish is done. Top with a round of reserved butter and let stand a minute while the butter melts.
- Serve with your favorite sides. I find a little squeeze of lemon compliments the flavors nicely. Enjoy!