With Earth Day coming up this week, we wanted to shed some light on why it's so important to cook with sustainable seafood—so we reached out to sustainable seafood pro Michael Cimarusti of Providence in L.A. for this recipe. Wild black cod, similar in texture and flavor to sea bass, is completely sustainable and the perfect fish to pan-sear and top tender morel mushrooms and asparagus. This dish highlights some of the best flavors of spring.
Cooking skin-on fish in a pan can be tricky. We encourage you to use a nonstick pan and plenty of oil. Make sure the fish is very dry and season it only right before you cook it to prevent the salt from drawing out moisture in the flesh. By scoring the skin, you allow the steam to escape from the fish, keeping the skin perfectly crisp.
To learn more, read "Off the Hook."
Pan-Seared Black Cod with Morels and Asparagus
Recipe adapted from Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 shallots, minced
8 ounces morel mushrooms, cleaned
1 bunch (1 pound) pencil asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
¼ cup finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
Four 6-ounce wild black cod fillets, skins on
1. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sweat until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the morels and continue to cook until tender, 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until lightly golden and tender, 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, the chives and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and keep warm until ready to serve.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the fillets with salt and pepper, then make a series of scores on their skins, 1 inch apart from each other. Cook each fillet, skin-side down, until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the fish and sear until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.
3. Using a slotted spoon, divide the mushrooms and asparagus between 4 plates and top each with a cod fillet, skin-side up. Spoon any remaining liquid in the mushroom pan over the cod and garnish with chopped chives, then serve.