Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad likes the flavor that spiced poaching liquid lends to the fish in this recipe, but water (salted or not), wine or chicken broth may be substituted.
This method also can easily be adjusted to accommodate individual preferences. It is only slightly more hassle to make several preparations with different liquid-to-fish ratios: around 3 parts liquid to 1 part fish for medium-rare, about 4 to 1 for medium.
You can double the recipe, but that will slightly affect the speed at which the liquid cools and hence how much the fish will cook. Instead, to make 4 servings, prepare the fish in 2 separate pots (perhaps with different liquid-to-fish ratios to accommodate different preferences).
Serve with butter and mashed potatoes or sauteed leeks.
- 2 8-ounce skinless or skin-on cod fillets, cod steaks or other white-fleshed fish fillets, about 1 1/4 inches thick (pin bones removed)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns, slightly crushed
- 1 cardamom pod, slightly crushed
- 1 star anise
- 8 cups vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth (may substitute wine or salted/unsalted water)
- Fresh herbs, such as a sprig of rosemary, for garnish
- 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional)
- 2 scallions, white and light-green parts, coarsely chopped (optional)
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (optional)
If you want a firmer fleshed-fish, soak it in ice water for 15 minutes or more (see related sidebar).
Combine the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, black peppercorns, cardamom, star anise and broth in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat; cover the pan and bring to a boil. Season with salt to taste; the broth should be lightly salted if you plan to serve the fish in its broth and more heavily salted if the fish will be served without broth.
Add the fish to the pot, leave the lid off and turn off the heat. Let the fish cook in the gradually cooling broth; after about 20 minutes the broth should still be warm, not hot.
Serve with the herbs, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped scallions and dots of the butter, if using, placed on top of the fish. If serving the fish with its broth, strain the broth and reheat it first, then pour it over the fish at the last minute. (This will affect the cooking of the fish, but only marginally.)
From Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Hal Mehlman.
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