I had so much fun planning our Easter menu and prepping all the courses. It’s been so long since we’ve had a dinner party! I ordered both the cod and the lobster from my favorite fish market in Maine, which is where my dear brother and sister-in-law happen to live!
BUTTER POACHED MAINE COD
WITH FRENCH TARRAGON
LOBSTER GARNISH SERVED ON PEA PUREE
I have never poached fish in butter, but since our theme for Easter this year was French, it seemed like a good idea. It did take a huge amount of butter, but you can use the butter in a number of different ways after so it does not all go to waste. I boiled the lobsters the day before and took the meat out of the shell. I also made the pea puree on Saturday, which made putting the main course together relatively easy.
PEA PUREE Ingredients/Preparation:
2 cups frozen peas
About 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bring 1/2 cup of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook until just tender; about 4 minutes. Do not strain. Add peas to a blender using a slotted spoon so some cooking liquid is used in the blender. Blend for 2 to 3 minutes until a fairly thick and smooth puree is formed. Add more cooking liquid if necessary to get the correct consistency. Pour the pea puree into a fine mesh sieve and using the back of a spoon push the puree through. This gives you a silky smooth finish. Taste and season with more salt if needed and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Store in fridge until ready to use. I reheated for about 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave before serving on the fish.
TO POACH THE COD:
Since I had not poached fish in butter before, I read about a bunch of different methods and the simplest seemed to be to butter poach the cod in the oven.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt 8 sticks (that’s right, 2 #’s! You want to nearly submerge the fish in butter.) in a large 13×9 glass baking dish. Smash a couple large cloves of peeled garlic and add to the butter. Add a handful of fresh tarragon to the butter. Pat the pieces of fish dry with a paper towel and gently place them in the butter bath. Spoon the melted butter over the fish if they are not quite submerged. Cook the fish for about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of your fish. A good rule is 10 minutes for every 1/2 inch of fish. Spoon butter over again about half way through cooking. Your fish is done when it begins to flake. I added the lobster tails about 10 minutes before the fish finished poaching just to reheat.
ON TO DESSERT!
LEMON CURD CHEESECAKE
WITH CANDIED LEMON SLICES
I candied the lemon slices in advance. It was very simple to do and gave this cheesecake a little extra panache!
TO CANDY THE LEMON SLICES:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 lemons sliced to 1/8 inch thickness.
Bring the sugar, water and lemon juice to boil in a large saucepan. Reduce to simmer and add lemon slices in a single layer. It’s OK if they overlap a bit. Simmer over medium-low heat uncovered for 15 minutes, gently flipping once or twice during the cooking process.
Transfer the lemon slices to a cooling rack lined with a piece of waxed or parchment paper as the slices will continue to drip sugar water.
Let the candied lemon slices sit at room temperature for up to 24 hours before storing in an air-tight container in the fridge.
LEMON CURD CHEESECAKE Ingredients:
To save a step, I decided against making my own lemon curd and used this wonderful, high-quality lemon curd that I bought online. As you can see, I used the whole jar!
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
1 3/4 cups crushed ginger snaps
1 tsp. dried ginger
1/3 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a greased 9 inch springform pan on double thickness of heavy duty foil. Wrap securely around the pan. In a bowl, mix the ginger snaps, ginger and butter until completely incorporated. press onto the bottom and part way up sides of the prepared springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened at room temp
1 cup sour cream or Greek style yogurt (I used yogurt.)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 large eggs, at room temperature, slightly beaten
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt, and sugar until very smooth. Beat in lemon zest and juice. Adds eggs. Beat on low speed just until blended. Pour into crust. Place springform pan in a larger baking pan. Add 1 inch of hot water to the large pan. This technique is called a Bain Marie, which is the French term for hot water bath. It’s a technique that’s used for cooking delicate foods, like cheesecake, custards or terrines giving them a uniform heat as they cook.
Bake until the center of the cheesecake is just set and top appears dull; about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Remove the springform pan from the Bain Marie. Cool the cheesecake on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and cool for another hour longer.
When the cake is completely cooled, top with the lemon curd and garnish with the candied lemon slices.
THANKS FOR JOINING ME FOR EASTER DINNER
AGAIN THIS YEAR!
NEXT TIME, I’M GOING TO SHARE WITH YOU A SPECIAL BUTCHER SHOP I JUST DISCOVERED IN TUCSON!
TUNE IN AGAIN SOON…