Cod Wrapped in Crispy Potatoes

Mar 9th, 2011 | By | Category: Featured, Fish, Greek, Greek Wine, Herbs, How To, Main, Olive Oil, Potato

Have you ever reflected on what you used to eat, how you cooked/what you cooked in the past versus the present? What ingredients were you using? Were the ingredients seasonal, were the dishes complex or were they straight-forward and rustic? Have you learned anything new in the kitchen..technique, new garnish or passion for a new ingredient?

I keep a notepad for recipes, ideas, things I want to try or to jot down ideas that have a germ of turning into a wonderful idea. A notepad also helps ensure that when a recipe appears on this blog that what you, the readers are getting, is an accurate instruction and ingredient listing. Sometimes a dish is spontaneous, some ideas arrive by accident or many attempts are made to better a recipe until it’s worthy of posting. There’s always room for improvement but when a dish appears on this blog – it’s worth trying out in the kitchen.

The notion of wrapping fish in potatoes and cooking came from watching this done by restaurant and celebrity chefs on TV. I was smitten with the idea and I’ve always wanted to make, present and eat such a dish. This approach to cooking a fish has been swirling in my head for a few years and it probably got pushed to the backburner when I saw a home cook try to do this dish on what of those cooking reality shows where a group of five home cooks takes turns entertaining and cooking. Points are awarded and the home cook with the most points from their competitors wins.

The fellow that tried to wrap his fish in potatoes and pan-sear them in a skillet failed miserably: potatoes felt apart and they weren’t crispy at all. Suffice to say, he didn’t win the cooking/entertaining competition either! Why would anyone want to wrap a fillet of fish with potatoes and cook it? Because you can, I wanted to and from a tasting perspective, the crisp potatoes become an outer layer of the fish: offering a different crispyness to your protein and protecting the actual fish from drying out while pan-frying. If that’s not enough for you will surely appreciate that this is one helluva sexy dish.

Having just spent three days at a Toronto food show, meeting some of Canada’s top chefs, it was refreshing to hear many of them returning to dishes that are stripped down, not too complex with a focus in the kitchen on sourcing quality ingredients. Chef Mark McEwan said, “it’s an insult when pretty food has no taste at all”. We all eat with our eyes but in the end, the food also has to smell and taste good and I think we have a winner with this dish.

The mystery to this dish is how to wrap a fillet of fish with potatoes? Nothing to complex – thinly slice the potatoes, lightly fry them until soft then blot on paper towels. Voila, your fish is ready to be wrapped in potatoes. The key here is thinly slicing the potatoes and you will yield best (and consistent) results if you slice them thinly with a mandoline.

Larger potatoes will be easier to work with (less potato slices to overlap and wrap) but again, you will get the same result. You could place some cling wrap over your work surface to make wrapping the fish in potatoes easier or simply using an offset spatula to lift and wrap the potatoes around the fish will work too!

This dish looks more complex than it is – which is a relief for many of you reading this post – you can pull this recipe off!I recommend using (buy one if you don’t have one) a mandoline, some light frying of potatoes, use starchy Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, quality Greek olive oil and use your imagination when flavouring the fish. On this day, I threw in some fresh parsley, capers, garlic, lemon zest and oregano into a food processor and made a paste for rubbing on the fish.

Smear the sauce on the fish, wrap with your par-fried potatoes and place in a non-stick skillet to crisp those spuds and cook the fish. I served the cod wrapped in crispy potatoes on a bed of a chickpea salad that were tossed with green beans, roasted red peppers, some pickled cauliflower florets, some leafy greens and Kalamata olives. You’ll have to wait for that recipe but jot down this cod dish in the meantime. It’s sexy time!

Cod Wrapped in Crispy Potatoes (Μπακαλιαρο Τυλιγμενο με Τραγανες Πατατες)

(serves 4)

4 boneless cod fillets (or any other white fish fillet)

coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

3 large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled

1/4 olive oil for frying

for the parsley-caper sauce

1 cup of fresh parsley leaves

scant tsp. of dried Greek oregano

4 cloves of garlic, smashed

3 Tbsp. of capers, rinsed

1 tsp. of Dijon style mustard

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/4 extra-virgin olive oil

fresh ground pepper to taste

recommended equipment

non-stick skillet

mandoline

offset spatula

  1. Into a food processor, add all the ingredients for the parsley-caper sauce and process until a homogeneous green sauce. Adjust flavours according to your tastes and set aside.
  2. Take your peeled potatoes and thinly slice them (lengthwise) using a mandoline. Add your oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should be hot (but not smoking) and then you may fry your potatoes for about 2 minutes or until soft. Reserve on a paper towel-lined plate and par-fry the remaining potatoes.
  3. Rinse and pat-dry your fish fillets and trim to a uniform square or rectangular shape & season lightly with sea salt and fresh ground peppers. Coat both sides of your fillets with the parsley-caper sauce and set aside.
  4. Place enough potato slices on your work surface (enough to just wrap each fillet) with each potato slice overlapping the other by half and then place the fish fillet on top. You may need to overlap the potato slices at the ends to lengthen them if you potatoes weren’t long enough but you’ll still succeed. Trim some potato with a knife if your potato wrapping is wider than your fillet.
  5. Carefully slice an offset spatula under the potato slices and lift them up and over the top of the fish fillets. Secure, squeeze the potato around your fillets and place on a plate  and in your fridge for an hour to set.
  6. After an hour, remove your fillets from the fridge and wipe away any excess oil in the pan/skillet you used to fry the potatoes. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the potato-wrapped cod fillets and cook for 4 minutes aside or until the potatoes are golden-brown (use a spatula to flip and handle the fish).
  7. Serve on a bed of warm chickpea salad with a wedge of lemon and serve with a Sigalas Assyrtiko/Athiri from the island of Santorini.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2011 Peter Minakis

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© 2011, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

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27 Comments to “Cod Wrapped in Crispy Potatoes”

  1. Your intro paragraph had me thinking about what I have and haven’t changed about my cooking over the years. I think the day I first moved in my own apartment I really felt a sense of freedom and creativity that I could cook, and cook whenever and however I wanted. I remember the feeling of satisfaction I would get buying lots of fresh vegetables and fruits and having a freezer full of newlymade meatballs and whatever meats I felt like eating that night. Still, my cooking can get into ruts. I fall back on the same ingredients all too often. That’s why I often issue myself challenges. What can I cook that I have never cooked before? What can I do to make this different? Sometimes just seeing a new ingredient in the store will inspire me. I think often my biggest inspiration comes from bloggers. So often it’s the blogger who uses an ingredient I never tried, or uses it in a way I never have and makes something I know I want to make.

    This looks like a fun and interesting challenge. I would definitely consider this for my fish-and-poato-loving husband. If I can get the potatoes to wrap this beautifully, I would consider it an accomplishment indeed.

  2. ELENA says:

    Peter φα-ντα-στι-κό!!!!
    Φοβάμαι ότι θα με δυσκολέψει πολύ το τύλιγμα, αλλά θα το προσπαθήσω, μου άρεσε απίστευτα η ιδέα σου!
    Φιλιά!

  3. Cherine says:

    This looks really scrumptious!! I love the crispy potato wrap!

  4. ειρήνη says:

    Εξαιρετικο πιατο!Ειναι εργο τεχνης, πραγματικα λυπασαι να το φας!

  5. I made this dish last April and it was a big hit Peter. But I wish I’d had your idea then of smearing the fish with that sauce, before wrapping in potato.

  6. Rosa says:

    A beautiful dish that must be very flavorful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  7. Laura says:

    Gorgeous. Want. Alas do not have a mandoline.

  8. I do have a mandoline, even imported from France and I have tried using it and failed miserably. I tried watching the video and finally it has been sitting in the cupboard collecting dust. (I am mechanically challenged)
    But this dish is worth pulling la mandoline out for, one last attempt at conquering the monster.

  9. That looks so effective. I’m going to have to give it a go. Anything wrapped in potato has my vote.

  10. As a matter of fact, potato crusted fish is one thing I’ve wanted to cook for ages. I attempted it once, and the potatoes fell off, and I forgot about it. I need to try again. And, I’m wishing this were my dinner tonight.

  11. That’s a beautiful dish, Peter.

  12. bellini says:

    I have yet to try this but I have seen many chefs attempt it, but come to think of it their recipes had the potato on only one side. There is a trick to it I am sure.

  13. Dragon says:

    A beautiful way to serve an amazing piece of fish. Can’t wait to try this dish. :)

  14. Jan says:

    Wow that looks amazing! LOVE the idea of fish being wrapped in potatoes!

  15. Deeba says:

    Because you can and you’ve managed to create a winner Petah! Love the Chefs quote, agree a 100%, and also love the way you served the cod in crisp spuds. I don’t call you a Greek God of good food for nothing! This is fancy stuff!!

  16. wow Peter! That looks sensational…what a great technique and very effective presentation! I’m a real sucker for that parsley-caper sauce too!

  17. Maria says:

    A very elegant and flavorful dish! A variation of this is a signature dish at Le Cirque in NYC. Would love to try it some day!

  18. Joan Nova says:

    That really is a beautiful dish – so skillfully presented.

    P.S. Thanks for the link to create slideshow.

  19. Simone says:

    That is just brilliant Peter! I had never heard of a way to prepare fish like this but it looks amazing and delicious! We also like to reflect on how our perception of food and cooking has changed dramatically through the years!

  20. You are killing me with your crispy potatoes Peter! I love this idea! I have been trying to cook with seafood more lately and feel like I never know what to do with it – this is great!

  21. [...] Add the salad greens, chopped parsley, oregano into the bowl just before serving and toss gently until incorporated. Top with the olives and serve as a salad side or as bedding with a fillet of fish. [...]

  22. [...] Cod wrapped in crispy potatoes… what an awesome idea! [Kalofagas] [...]

  23. kat says:

    I remember when they did something like this on Top Chef & had such a hard time getting the potatoes just right. Yours looks perfect

  24. Peter A. says:

    It looks great, I can’t wait to try it. The presentation with the revithia salad is awesome! Thanks Peter.

  25. The potato wrap is stunning, intricate and perfectly done. I am super impressed. I am serving fish for my Sunday family dinner this week, going to have a try at this. Thanks a bunch for sharing. So many wonderful ideas I get from your posts. :) Happy Thursday my friend!

  26. [...] Side [Translate] This dressing is a riff on the parsley-caper sauce I used to make this Cod Wrapped in Crispy Potatoes a few weeks ago. The colour of this concoction is vibrant, the flavour is bold but not in your face [...]

  27. [...] I have been keeping an eye out for new dishes and not too long ago I came across this recipe for cod wrapped in crispy potatoes on Kalofagus which caught my eye. I liked the idea of fish wrapped in crispy potatoes, I mean you [...]

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