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Olive Oil-Poached Salt Cod with Red Kuri Squash and Mostarda

Posted: December 10, 2013

Recipe courtesy of chef Michael White, Marea, New York

To make the red kuri squash puree:

• Extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
• 1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
• Salt
• 1 medium red kuri squash, about 2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (kabocha squash may be substituted)

To make the shishito pesto:

• Canola oil
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 1/4 pound shishito peppers, cored and seeded
• 1 bunch basil, destemmed, blanched and chopped
• 1 bunch parsley, destemmed, blanched and chopped

To make the golden raisin mostarda:

• Canola oil
• 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
• 1/2 tablespoon sugar
• 1/2 cup white wine, such as a Greco di Tufo or another minerally white
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup golden raisins
• 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
• 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

To complete the dish:

• 4 fillets salt cod, skin on
• Olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, whole
• 2 fresh thyme sprigs
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 tablespoon peppercorns

To make the red kuri squash puree:

1. In a blanching pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and leek, season with salt, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the squash and continue to cook until it is slightly softened. Add water to cover the squash and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender.

2. Strain the vegetables from the liquid, reserving the liquid, and place them in a blender. Process until smooth, adding reserved liquid as needed to thin the puree. Season with salt and add extra-virgin olive oil to taste. Reserve.

To make the shishito pesto:

1. In a large cast-iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and crushed garlic, cooking until the peppers are charred.

2. Transfer the cooked peppers, garlic, basil and parsley to a blender. Puree until smooth, adding canola oil and cold water to help blend ingredients. Season with salt to taste, and reserve. Makes 1 cup. May be reserved in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To make the golden raisin mostarda

1. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sugar, and cook until translucent. Add white wine and bay leaf, and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add the white balsamic vinegar and water, bring to a simmer, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add raisins, and allow to steep.

2. When cool, strain liquid and reserve. Remove most of the onions and the bay leaf and discard. Store the raisins in the reserved liquid.

3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the rice wine vinegar to a simmer. Add mustard seeds and turn off the heat. Set aside and let cool. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of the mustard seeds to the raisin mixture, to taste.

To complete the dish:

1. In a large nonreactive pan, soak the salt cod fillets in cold water for 10 hours. Remove from the water and pat dry. In a large shallow pan, heat 1/2 inch of olive oil, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns to 115° F. Place the cod fillets in the oil skin side down, and poach for 5 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain.

2. To serve, spread 2 tablespoons squash puree on a plate. Spoon 2 tablespoons pesto next to the puree. Place cod atop purees, and spoon 2 tablespoons mostarda over the fish. Serves 4.

Wine Suggestions

These recommendations were originally made in 2013 and the wines suggested may be unavailable or inappropriate in the future. Select more recent vintages to get a similar pairing effect.

First Choices:

Quintodecimo Greco di Tufo Giallo d'Arles 2011
Antonio Caggiano Greco di Tufo Devon 2011 (92, $25)
Antonio Caggiano Fiano di Avellino Béchar 2011 (91, $25)
Ciro Picariello Fiano di Avellino 2010 (90, $25)

Alternate Choices:

Mastroberardino Fiano di Avellino Radici 2012 (90, $30)
Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo 2012 (90, $25)
Vesevo Fiano di Avellino 2011 (90, $25)
Vesevo Greco di Tufo 2011 (90, $25)

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