Meat-Free Main Dish Alert—Kickin’ It Up a Notch

Cod is a very versatile fish, one that you can do a lot with. Because of its flexibility, we find we’ve been using it in many a recipe, especially for our commitment to Meatless Mondays. And when I read Cod With Asparagus Hash and Horseradish Sauce, in my Real Simple magazine, I was immediately drawn to the ingredients—one in particular, horseradish.

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You know how I like anything with a kick, or a bite, or a zing (sounding somewhat masochistic here), but the beauty of it is, the horseradish sauce is an accompaniment, so if if you’re not a fan, just don’t add it to your plate, or reduce the amount used. But for those of us who favor robust flavors, it is a welcome addition to the otherwise subdued ingredients. Oddly enough, the supermarket only carried prepared creamy horseradish, so we opted to buy a small chunk of fresh and grate it ourselves.

And consider these health benefits. Horseradish is low in calories and fat. However, it contains good amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Certain active principles in it found to have anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and nerve soothing effects. In addition, the root has small amounts of essential vitamins such as folate, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Feeling better already…

To stay on point, even though Spring had just started, we were not able to locate raw Spring onions with their greens, so we bought a small onion version, and used scallion greens as a topper. Underwhelmed with only three onions in the recipe, we incorporated twice that amount. I just cooked them prior to browning the boiled potato pieces. And speaking of potatoes, the russets at the store were unusually small (notice in the photo below, they’re not much bigger than the lemon), so we used two of them.

Dill has long been at the bottom of my most-liked herbs list. But perhaps because I’ve been including it into recipes on a more frequent basis, it’s starting to grow on me (that’s a visual!) And it really does make a difference as a garnish in this recipe, so don’t omit it.

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The evening sun shining through the window on the cutting board as I begin to prep dinner. That “chunk” between the dill and lemon is raw horseradish.

INGREDIENTS

  • russet potato, cut into ¾-in. pieces
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (we used light)
  • tablespoons horseradish
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • spring onion bulbs, whites quartered and greens thinly sliced
  • bunch asparagus, cut into 2-in. pieces
  • (6-ounce) pieces boneless, skinless cod fillets
  • tablespoons roughly chopped dill

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Grated an ample amount of fresh horseradish for the side-sauce.

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Because our Spring onions weren’t raw, I cooked them before adding the boiled potato chunks to the skillet.

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After adding the asparagus, I covered the skillet for a few minutes to expedite the cooking process. 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook the potato in salted water until fork-tender, 8 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together the mayonnaise, horseradish, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice in a small bowl.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the potato, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook, turning occasionally, until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the onion whites and asparagus and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle the fish with the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, in batches, until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve, sprinkled with the remaining lemon juice, the dill, and onion greens, with the asparagus hash and horseradish sauce on the side.

By Robby Melvin of Real Simple Magazine

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The horseradish-mayo sauce is pictured in the lower right.

HORSERADISH NOTES:

Horseradish is a member of the mustard family (sharing lineage with its gentler cousins, kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and the common radish) and is cultivated for its thick, fleshy white roots.

The “hotness” from horseradish comes from isothiocyanate, a volatile compound that, when oxidized by air and saliva, generates the “heat” that some people claim clears out their sinuses.

The bite and aroma of the horseradish root are almost absent until it is grated or ground. During this process, as the root cells are crushed, isothiocyanates are released. Vinegar stops this reaction and stabilizes the flavor. For milder horseradish, vinegar is added immediately. 

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