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Chef Andy: Give the nod to cod

By Andy Mueller

Of the 365 days in any given year, the only days I truly crave red meat are every Friday during Lent.

I think it’s the “I can’t have it, therefore I want it” struggle I go through every year.

When that craving hits me, I need to satisfy it with something that comes as close to the texture of meat but still falls in the acceptable category of things we can eat.

Catholics are supposed to abstain from eating land animals on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent as Friday was the day of the ultimate sacrifice for human kind.

Local Chef Andy Mueller

Now, we pack restaurants, pubs and local taverns in the tradition of consuming all things from the sea every Friday.

Of course perch is the predominant king of the Friday fish fry, but I like to toss a curve ball in there once in a while and give a nod to the almighty cod.

It’s definitely one of the meatier types of fish, making it satisfying to the palate and yet still decadent with a little warm butter bath or a zippy dip of tartar sauce to enhance its appeal.

Cod, very similar to haddock, is a bigger, rounder fillet and some say isn’t as fishy as haddock, but if they are both super fresh, the difference is difficult to detect.

If I’m making a beer-battered fish, I’ll give the pole position to haddock as it is a thinner fish and fries up nicely, because the flesh isn’t too thick and the fish cooks perfectly inside and the batter stays golden.

Cod is a thicker fleshed fish and unless you trim it a bit, your batter may be too dark when the fish is cooked through.

Cod is best baked or steamed, because this type of heat is a bit more gentle and the fish isn’t forced to withstand the shock of a deep fryer.

Either way, cod and haddock should be part of your Lenten game plan, and if you cook it right, you won’t miss the red meat at all.

Fish on.

Tartar sauce

Serve this with baked, fried or beer-battered cod, haddock, perch or just about any fish you can think of.

In a mixing bowl add:

• 2 cups mayonnaise.

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

• 1 tablespoon dill weed.

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.

• 1 teaspoon sugar.

• 1 cup dill pickle relish.

• 1 cup sweet pickle relish.

• 1/2 cup finely minced sweet onion.

• A pinch of salt.

• A generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper.

• 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce.

Whisk together ingredients, refrigerate for 1 hour and enjoy.

Chef Andy Mueller is owner/chef of Galley 57 Supper Club in Bellevue – galley57.com.

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