Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Baked Cod With A Tomatoes, Fennel, And Capers

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This delicious and healthy dish is a favorite in my house. Cod is a light white flaky fish that absorbs whatever flavors you may add.

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Temp: 375 degrees F.
Cook time: 15-18  minutes

4-6 ounce cod fillets
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 pints of halved yellow and red grape tomatoes
1 diced fennel bulb
1 medium diced onion
1 seeded and minced Fresno chiili
3 sliced garlic cloves
1/4 cup of drained capers
1 tablespoon of Pernod
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil leaves
1-1/2 lemons ( 1 sliced and 1/2 juiced over the fish)
finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish

First, prep all the vegetables for the dish. Once prepped, add olive oil to saute pan on medium heat. Add all the veggies, minced Fresno chili, and minced garlic to the pan. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Saute everything for about 5-7 minutes. As the veggies start breaking down and soften, add in the white wine. Bring this up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the tomato and fennel mixture until wine has reduced and sauce starts to come together.This should take another 7-10 minutes. At this point, add in the drained capers. Keep the pan on the burner with the heat turned off.

In a 11 x 8 baking dish, add the Pernod to the bottom of the dish. Add in the sauteed tomatoes and fennel mixture. Sprinkle each of the 4 cod fillets with Kosher salt and pepper. Place the fillets on top of the of the tomato and fennel sauce. Spoon a little of the sauce over the top of each fillet.

In a preheated 375 degree oven, place the dish in the oven and bake for around 15-18 minutes or until the cod is tender and flaky.  Remove from the oven add squeeze fresh lemon juice over all the fish. Add sliced lemons. Sprinkle over the whole dish with chopped fresh basil leaves, and the Italian flat leaf parsley.

To serve, ladle the tomato, fennel, and caper sauce on the bottom of the dish. Using a spatula, transfer one of the fillets on top of the sauce, and spoon a generous amount of the sauce over the top of the baked cod. Garnish with a lemon slice.


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Mussels With Garlic Basil Bread Crumbs


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This style of mussels are so delicious. Most importantly, the broth that rests in the bottom of the bowl is heavenly. For this recipe, I’m focusing on the toasted bread crumbs.

To get my recipe for this broth, go to the search button at the top right and type in “mussels”. That will take you right to my post on “Mussels, Updated”

Having the toasted flavored bread crumbs nestled inside the shells gives great texture to the mussels.The fresh herbs and garlic add extra flavor. It’s so simple to make. Let me show you.

I have six pounds of mussels that I’ve divided into two batches. For the first night of our mussel extravaganza, I made them my traditional way. The second night, I thought I’d change it up a bit. Making them with garlic basil bread crumbs. Still using my delicious broth as a base, but instead of using crusty bread along side, I would add the bread into the recipe.

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It’s important to remember to always clean you mussels in advance. Cleaning the beards, scrubbing the shells, and also making sure the mussels discard any sand they may have. To do this, fill up your sink with cold water and add a couple of tablespoons of flour. Mix the flour around with your hands, then add the mussels right in. They will filter out the sand by drinking in the flour that’s in the water.Pretty cool! I usually let them stay in the sink for about 10 minutes.This will prevent any sand from getting into your final dish. You don’t want the mussels to release any sand they may be holding and it ending up in your broth.

Have a large pot on the stove, preheated, on med-high heat. Add the cleaned mussels to the pot. Pour in a whole bottle of white wine. Place the lid on and let the mussels steam. Once all the mussels have opened, they’re done. If you see any that have not opened discard them. I like to stir the mussels once through the steaming process so they can all drink up some of the wine. This whole process happens really quickly.

Yields: 2 servings at 1-1/2 pounds per person
Prep Time for Mussels: 30-40 minutes (includes filtering the sand out in the sink)Prep Prep Time for bread crumbs: 10 minutes
Cook Time for bread crumbs: 5-7 minutes
Equipment: large stock pot
recipe of the broth is at “Mussels updated”
3 pounds of cleaned mussels
1 bottle of dry white wine
1 stick of melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2-1/2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
5 cloves of garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 cup of Italian flat leaf parsley
1-1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves

As I mentioned earlier, I’m using 3 pounds of mussels for this recipe. I start with a stick of unsalted melted butter in a large saute pan, on medium heat. I sprinkle in some Kosher salt and pepper to the melted butter. This will season the bread crumbs. To the melted butter add in Italian style bread crumbs. Using a spatula, toss the bread crumbs through so that they get covered with the butter. Folding the bread crumbs continuously, until the bread crumbs have absorbed all the butter and have toasted up nicely. This take about 5-7 minutes or so. Once they are all nice and toasted,  turn the heat off and set them to the side.

In a food processor, add in some garlic cloves that have been halved. and pulse them until a few times until they’re minced. In a large bowl add the minced garlic. To the bowl add in pine nuts and lemon zest.

Next, for the fresh herbs. I have fresh Italian flat leaf parsley and fresh basil leaves. I add those into the food processor and pulse them a few times just to the point where they are chopped but not minced. I want to see their green color come through when they are mixed with the bread crumbs.

Add the toasted bread crumbs into the bowl and mix all the ingredients together. When ready to plate, ladle the broth into the bottom of the bowl, then the cooked mussels. Finish by generously sprinkling the toasted garlic basil bread crumbs over the top.




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Mussels Three Ways

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Mussels In Tomato Sauce













Mussel Chowder

I decided to look back at my recipe for mussels and update them. I’ve come to the realization it’s better all the way around to make the sauce separate, Instead of cooking the mussels in the sauce. Let me explain…

In the past, I’ve written my recipes for mussel dishes using 2 pounds of mussels. Well, it’s just never enough. Between Steve and me, we can eat a serious amount of mussels, and we always wish we had more. Then I thought, what if a friend should drop by unexpectedly! It just wouldn’t be right not to offer them a dish of these delicious little gems. My new method allows me to buy quite of bit more mussels. At $3.99 for a 2-pound bag, I found myself buying 6 bags. I couldn’t help myself!

The other issue is, preparing them in the sauce and then having to store the leftover mussels. They can get “mealy”. Remember that most recipes call for wine and leaving the mussels in the sauce overnight can break them down quickly. They never taste the same or hold their integrity.

This method will take care of all these issues. Also, I have a great leftover recipe that I’m going to share with you in this post. Mussel chowder.

I’ve bought 12-2 pound bags of PEI or Prince Edward Island mussels at my local seafood store. Yes, that’s a lot of mussels but, after going through all of them, you may find ones that are open and are no longer alive. Those are the ones that are open. You can do a quick test by giving them a good thump with your fingers and they don’t close, get rid of them. They are no good. Then you may find some with a chipped shell from the shipping process. Get rid of them. Next, when you’re scrubbing the outside shells from sand and whatnot and removing their beards. You know, those hairy beards that emerge from their shells. Those hairy membranes allow the mussels to attach themselves to stable surfaces. Look, everything that’s worthwhile means putting in some love. Great seafood recipes are no different.

I start by getting to the seafood shop as soon as it opens, about 7 am. All 6-2 pound bags are packed on ice for the ride home. Then it becomes a family project. You really don’t know how many may be damaged from the shipping or just might be dead. I take this into consideration when buying a large amount like this.  Steve has two chairs set up outside with a couple of brushes, ice, and two buckets of water for cleaning and rinsing the babies off. He doesn’t mind doing the work because he knows about the payoff. It takes the two of us about 45 minutes to clean, remove all the beards, and discard any dead ones. When all is said and done, the 12 pounds of mussels, I bought, end up being a good 10 pounds of perfection. Keep in mind, we’re talking about 95% “shell weight” here!

Next, I fill up my sink with water adding in a couple of tablespoons of flour. Using my hands I swish the flour and water around to allow the flour to combine with the water. To the water, I dump in all the cleaned mussels. Mussels act like a filter and will drink the water with the flour in it and spit it back out, along with any sand them may have inside their shells. This process only takes a couple of minutes. I then drain the water from the sink and spray them down with clean water. I divide the mussels into three large Tupperware containers topped with ice. Place them back into the refrigerator and start on my sauce.

For the sauce, I have chopped onions, sliced fennel, and fresh garlic. In a large saucepan, on medium heat, I’ve melted unsalted butter along with crushed red pepper flakes. Once the butter has melted, I add in the onions and  Kosher salt. I let the onions sweat for 3-5 minutes allowing them to soften before adding in the fennel. I stir together the fennel and onions together letting them cook for another 7-10 minutes. Next, I add in the garlic and a small amount of tomato paste. I keep stirring all the ingredients together giving the tomato paste a chance to cook and marry with the onions, fennel, and garlic.

At this point, it’s time to add in the liquid.

First, I start with a dry white wine. I turn the heat up to med-high, then  I pour the wine into the sauce pot. Next, I add in one quart each of seafood stock and unsalted chicken stock. I like to combination of the flavor of the two stocks, but you can add all seafood stock if you prefer. To that, I add in 2 tablespoons of Pernod ( an anise flavor liqueur), which enhances the flavor of the seafood and fennel. Pernod can be a strong flavor so you don’t need much at all. Remember this sauce is for 10 pounds of mussels so 2 tablespoons are perfect. Finally, the special ingredient, Saffron. Saffron is little red threads that come from the Crocus flower. I would have to say this is the most expensive spice in the world. A very small amount brings a lot of flavors and brings a beautiful color to the sauce.

Once everything comes up to a boil, then I lower the heat to med-low and let everything simmer for 20-30 minutes.

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Once the 30 minutes is up, place a lid on the pot, set the pot on a  back burner on warm.

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While my sauce is simmering away, this gives me around 30 minutes to start steaming my mussels. Now, because there are so many, I do have them divided into 3 containers in the frig, as I explained earlier. My plan is to cook them all off. I have an empty deep stock pot that I have heating up on med-high heat with the lid on. I’ve taken the mussels out of the frig and separated them from the ice.  I’m doing this in three batches. I know that I could probably fit all the mussels at one time into the pot, but I want to ensure that they all steam evenly.

Once the ice has been removed and the mussels are sitting in another large pot just waiting their turn, I take the first batch and dump them right into the large stock pot. I immediately pour the whole of the bottle of Chardonnay right over the top and quickly place the lid back on. After about 3 minutes, I open the lid, give them a big stir using my trusty spider, to see how they’re coming along. You want all the mussels to have opened before removing them from the pot. I would say for each batch ( a little over 3 pounds) it takes anywhere from 5-7 minutes. The times could vary slightly.

I pull out all of the opened mussels from the pot and place them into the same, cleaned out,  Tupperware containers that I used earlier. I just repeat this process two more times. No need to add any more wine to the pot. The first batch of mussels also released some of their juices as well. The pot is still on the heat and the liquid is still at a bubble. Add the second batch in carefully, and place the lid on immediately again. The second two batches may cook slightly quicker.

Once all the mussels have been steamed, they’re ready for the ladling of the sauce. Oh yes, don’t forget to serve some crusty bread for dipping too!

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Next day, Mussels in Tomato Sauce.

Mussels In Tomato Sauce

Next day, CHOWDER!

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This couldn’t be easier. You have the mussels already cooked. All you need to do is to remove them from their shells. The base for the soup is pretty much ready, just a few more ingredients need to be added to finish that off.

Ingredients For Mussel Chowder:
For this dish, I’m taking some store-bought shortcuts. I’m using thawed frozen corn, and 1 package of par-cooked, peeled, and diced potatoes. You can find these in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. I’m also adding in a diced red bell pepper.

Directions For The Mussel Chowder:
Place the leftover sauce from the mussels on the stove. Add in the diced potatoes. On med heat bring this up a slow bubble, and just turn it down and simmer, giving the potatoes time to finish cooking. At the same time, I’m adding in one finely diced red bell pepper. No need to saute the pepper first. It will soften and cook while the potatoes are cooking. Let all this simmer on the stove for about 30-35 minutes.

Once the potatoes are tender, add in 1 heaping cup of thawed frozen corn. Next, add in the mussels. Stir that through and turn the heat back up to med-high heat.  In a small bowl take 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon or just enough water to make a thick slurry or paste. Whisk those together and pour the slurry into the soup. Bring the soup back up to a boil. You’ll see once the soup boils again, the soup will have thickened. Turn the heat off and add in 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream and stir through. Garnish with some fresh flat leaf Italian parsley. You now have had one of the most delicious mussel chowders you’ve ever tasted.

Prep Time: 1 hour ( this includes prepping the mussels and veggies for the sauce)
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45-50 minutes (  this includes sauce, times may vary on mussels)
Equipment: large stock pot and a spider
Yields: 4-2 pound servings of mussels in shells
Yields: 2 servings of mussel chowder
10 pounds of mussels in their shells cleaned
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes ( optional)
2 cups of diced fennel
2 -1/2 cups of diced sweet onions
10 cloves of minced garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 quart of seafood stock
1 quart of unsalted chicken stock
2 tablespoons of Pernod
1 teaspoon of Saffron threads
Italian parsley for garnish and extra flavor

Directions for making mussels:

Prep and clean all the mussels first. Chop of all the veggies for the sauce. In a large sauce pot, on med heat, and on a back burner, melt the butter. Add in the crushed red pepper flakes. Next, add in the veggies starting with the onions. Let the onions saute until soft but, no color on them. Next, add in the chopped fennel and tomato paste. Cook those together for another 7-10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and stir through for another minute or so. To those ingredients add the wine and stocks. At this point add the Saffron threads. Bring the sauce up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Once the sauce is complete, turn the burner down to warm and place a lid on the pot.

While the sauce is simmering,  I get started on steaming the mussels in the white wine. Use a large stock pot that’s been heating up on the stove. I add the mussels to the pot. Right away, pour in a whole bottle of dry white wine and place the lid on. Remember to do this in 3 batches so the mussels steam evenly. After being in the pot for about 3 minutes, using a spider, I give them a big stir. Place the lid back on and cook anywhere from 5-7 minutes. Times may vary slightly. Once all the mussels have opened, remove them from the pot, leaving the pot still at a boil, and repeat the process with the next batch. You do not need to add any more wine to the pot.

Once all the mussels have been steamed. Place them into large containers until you are ready to serve them up. Get yourself a large bowl and fill the bowl with those hot steamed mussels. Generously ladle some of that delicious and flavorful broth over the top. Sprinkle fresh leaf Italian parsley over the top and server with some crusty bread.

Note: Once the sauce for the mussels has cooled down, place in an airtight container with a lid. Refrigerate along with the leftover mussels until the next day when you’re ready to make the chowder.

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