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Chef Sohlberg’s Baked cod

Morten Sohlberg, owner and executive chef of Smörgåschef, with three locations in Manhattan, creates a new recipe with cod and lingonberries for Nordic Reach.

For more more info, see www.smorgaschef.com

Baked cod with lemongrass and lingonberries served with fingerling potatoes (serves 4)

All of the bones and/or the head of the codfish (as little skin as possible)
1 celery stalk
1/2 white onion
1 cup of white wine
1 qt. of bottled or filtered water
Let simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes while you prepare the sauce and the pan. You will get more than you will need for the sauce, which can be used for soup or other sauces. The stock freezes well like all high liquid foods. Now is a good time to boil the potatoes, 2-3 per person.

2 medium-to-large shallots (coarsely chopped)
2 oz. fresh chopped lemongrass
2 stems fresh thyme (remove stems)
1 stem rosemary (remove stem)
1 tbsp. olive oil
Sautee the ingredients until the shallots are soft but before they start turning brown.

1 cup white wine
1 cup of the fish stock
Add the wine and the stock to the shallot mix and let boil for another 10-12 minutes

2 cups Heavy Cream
4 oz. of raw cod meat (use the tail piece if possible)
Add the cream and let boil for about 20 minutes on low heat before you add the cod meat. Add the cod and let cook another 2 minutes. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and please be generous with the pepper – nothing is more boring than bland fish. Use sea salt or kosher salt. Then cool slightly, and blend (almost puree) the sauce in a blender or mixer. Finally press everything through a strainer, so you are left with a smooth liquid sauce.

Use an oven-safe pan, about 10x10 inches square, 1-1/2 – 2 inches deep.
5 – 6 oz. spinach
2 medium tomatoes (as ripe a possible), sliced
Grated Parmesan cheese
the cod filets, 24 oz.
1/2 cup Felix Lingonberry Preserve
Sautee the spinach in butter with a little salt, chopped lightly (1 inch lengths). Butter the pan and distribute the tomato slices, then as a second layer distribute the spinach. Layer the cod filets evenly and pour the sauce over everything (you want the fish to stay emerged like islands, not submerged). Sprinkle the cod with Parmesan cheese, and put in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Make sure the sauce is boiling well and that the fish comes apart easily when you put a fork through it. You can broil it for a few of the last minutes to get a slightly brown color on top. / Pour the Felix Lingonberry preserve over the fish and a little parsley or mint for garnish, let cool a little and serve!

Chef Sohlberg’s comments:
You need about two pounds of fresh cod with head and bones. Make sure the raw cod smells good and that the gills are bright red. You can ask your fish vendor to skin and filet the fish for you, but make sure you take the bones and head for the stock. Clean the parts of the fish you are using for the stock thoroughly in cold water. / Serve with boiled fingerling potatoes. Start making the Fish Stock so you prepare everything else while it boils and reduces. / Preheat oven to 400° F. Read over the recipe twice before you start.

A note when using wine in sauce: Always use good wine; “if you would not drink the wine with your food, do not use it in the food. I always use nice French Chablis for white sauces or stocks in my restaurants."
On cooking with new ingredients in general: “It is important to never stop experimenting with new ingredients and new combinations. Good food has to feel natural and ‘right’ but should, in a restaurant, also sometimes add an experience.”
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