The cod pasta challenge
I often pen in my journal that true friends expect nothing and appreciate everything. Time, distance, political views or social status mean squat in the face of the kind of friendships that solidify in youth – or at least, that’s how it should be.
When I came home from St. John’s two years ago to learn culinary arts, I knew that many of my friends were still thriving at home in Dover and had started families.
“When you comes home ya got to cook us a scoff!” David told me via social media when I announced my homecoming.
“You gonna cook us up a feed of Townie grub ya get’s home or wah?” Perry asked/demanded when I told him the same over the phone.
I knew both of my blood brothers enough to read between the lines. What they were really up to was more a test of my acquired skill than a social call. As prophesized, I had yet to fully unpack when both Perry and David showed up with a fresh brace of leggy cod, eggs, cream, dill and odds and a patchwork of ingredients that were mismatched to the point of comedy. So, it begins. I thought. Facepalming at the cacophony of ingredients, I asked them what they had intended for me cook.
“I dunno – Gordon Ramsay, you tell me,” said Perry, confirming my suspicions.
I must have been craving pasta at the time because my thoughts always led back to that as I pondered what to make. Fresh pasta isn’t something common and would definitely be a mind blower, I thought. I also could impress by baking the cod en papiotte – a French paper method that was excellent for delicate seafood.
And with that, I got down to making: 2 tbsp butter
For seafood — Cut two sheets of parchment paper at 18”. Fold in half, cut each folded half into a rough ½ heart shape and open. Place five rashers of bacon on each papers ½ side. Place cod atop the bacon and top with lime slices and lemon juice. Fold each heart in half again and fold edges in pleats all the way around to create a tight seal. Preheat oven to 400 F and bake pouches for roughly 10 minutes. Remove parcooked bacon and set aside and wrap For pasta — Separate five eggs and set both yolk and whites aside. Pile your flour and make a well in the centre. Gradually add eggs, yolks and flour to well and knead into smooth dough. Roll dough out ½ cm thick and cut into 3x3’’ squares. Place a tsp sized amount of cod into the centre, brush egg white along the edges and place another square on top. Repeat with all and chill for 10 minutes. Boil water in a large pot and simmer pasta for six minutes.
For sauce and finish – In a medium pan, bring cream, butter and parm to a simmer, add peppercorns and stir briskly. Top over pasta and garnish with bacon wrapped scallops.
I suppose now you’re probably wondering how my friends reacted. In short – they pretended not to like it, but asked for seconds. If this recipe sounds familiar you may have heard me talk about it on a CBC radio show a few weeks ago. Yeah, I sometimes do that too.