Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Polenta Crusted Atlantic Cod
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The blood orange is an increasingly popular kind of orange with red pulp that gives it its name. The blood orange is not as large as a typical navel orange, and some varieties of the fruit also have darker colorings on the outer rind. Blood oranges are less acidic than navel oranges, and are enjoyed by many as a fresh fruit choice.
The red-colored pulp is created from a pigment that often colors other fruit and a large variety of flowers. The darkness of the blood orange is dependent on several factors, including the variety of blood orange, the temperatures in which it was grown and the amount of light it received while growing. Initially planted in Sicily, blood orange is available nationally, mainly from California and Florida.
Polenta Crusted Atlantic Cod with Blood Orange Sauce
• 2 tbsp potato starch flour
• 4tbsp fine polenta (corn meal)
• Grated zest ½ orange + extra for garnish
• 1 tbsp thyme leaves
• 2 lb. sustainable Atlantic cod fillets, skinned and boned
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter + extra for blood orange sauce
• 2 tbsp olive oil + extra for vegetable base
• 4 oz. baby spinach
• 12 spring asparagus, stems removed, sliced
• 1 medium size zucchini, small diced
• 12 grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
• 1 shallot, minced
Blood orange sauce
• 1 cup blood orange juice
• Pinch of saffron
• 2 oz. dry white wine
• Mix the flour, polenta, orange zest and thyme leaves together with some seasoning. Dip the fillets in the beaten egg then roll in the polenta mix to coat. The fish can now be chilled for 20 minutes before you're ready to cook.
• Meanwhile, in a large pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add shallot, and wilt the spinach, asparagus, zucchini and tomatoes for 5 minutes. Lightly season with salt and black pepper and reserve water from vegetables. Divide between 4 plates, keep warm and set aside.
• Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan until foaming, add the fillets and lower the heat. Cook for 3 minutes on each side. Keep hot.
Blood orange sauce
• In medium skillet blend the vegetable water, blood orange juice, saffron and white wine. Bring to a boil, add a small cube of butter and reduce by half.
• Place fish on top of vegetable base, drizzle blood orange sauce over top and garnish with orange zest.
Note: Other white fish of preference may be used as substitute.
Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." www.chefwalter.com / http://www.chefwalter.blog.com/
Related Slideshow: 5 New Food Trends to Try in 2014
Upscale Chefs go "Downscale"
It's an incredible expense of time and money to be among the best chefs around. All of those high-end ingredients cost an arm and leg and the pressure to stay on top is enormous. Most cooks began learning at the feet of their older relatives--moms and dads; grandmas and grandpas. It's this food that calls them back. We see local Chef Jake Rojas rejoice in dropping the tweezers and cooking those SoCal family recipes he grew up eating. Local faves Thames Street Kitchen embarked on a burger concept this year and Providence icon Chez Pascal has its "Wurst Window" serving homemade sausage and comfort food. They're upscale food is wonderful, but this might be their best!
More Gluten Free Options
As we continue to pay the "processed food" price, our nation's food allergies continue to soar. Restaurants have been on the forefront of the movement towards options that take these allergies into account. The gluten allergy has taken the fore as bread and pasta and coated French fries became the first food victims of this allergy. Local establishments such as the Grange have taken gluten free to new heights with terrific vegetarian offerings. On the Hill, Pane e Vino has got an almost 40-item menu of gluten free options. It features everything an Italian meal could need without the worry.
Vietnamese as the "Go-To" Asian Cuisine
Every year it seems as though America "discovers" a new Asian country's food and gets hooked. This year it's the foods of Vietnam. Vietnamese food and ingredients have been a part of local Asian food for years now, but this time it stands on its own. Vietnam's food is highlighted by fresh, simple ingredients treated respectfully and flavorfully. Broths and noodles; lightly cooked meats and fresh vegetables all combine in a balanced meal. Locally we love Pho Horn in Pawtucket and Minh Hai in Cranston. Both are very good local versions of this wonderful cuisine.
Look...here's the problem with us Americans: we only eat the mild stuff. The muscle meat. It's chicken breast and tenderloin and striped bass filets. The problem with this style of eating is what it does to our ecosystem. Local fishermen used to be able to catch a bounty of swordfish BETWEEN the mainland and Block Island, now it's a day's trip to find them. Local chefs and fishermen are working diligently to bring back the mackerel and the sardine and the scup. Fish we have long since forgotten, but helped our forefathers thrive. Check out any of our top-notch "farm to table" spots--Persimmon in Bristol or Farmstead in Providence for example--to try a forgotten yet delicious fish.
As with most things food and beverage, the last 10 years have seen a move towards "smaller is better". Big box stores are gone and chain restaurants are suffering locally. It was only a matter of time until these ideas began making their way into our cocktails and boy are we psyched to see what the future holds. Locally we have Sons of Liberty in South Kingstown, producing small-batch whiskey, single malts and, even vodka. Our state features Coastal Extreme Brewery which makes Thomas Tew rum along with their Newport Storm beer. We've only gotten back into the distilling business here in Rhode Island in 2006 but we think tasty things are coming soon!
- Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Aquacotta Toscana
- 5 Weekend Musts: Newport Food Truck Festival + More
- Chef Walter Potenza, Cooking School Win Grana Padano Award
- Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Coconut Macaroons
- New England’s 19 Best Colleges for Food
- Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Asparagus alla Milanese
- NEW: RI Chef Walter Potenza to Cook for Pope Francis
- Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Barbajada Chocolate Drink
- 12 Fall Recipes Starring Classic Rhode Island Foods
- Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Concia of Vegetables
- 13 Biggest Food Stories in RI in 2013
- Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Melanzane alla Parmigiana
- 5 Great Gifts for Rhode Island Food Lovers
- Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Scrippelle M’Busse
- 5 New Food Trends to Try in 2014
- Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Spinaci all’Ebraica
- 5 RI Comfort Food Classics You Need To Try