15 December 2011

seared lingcod with meyer lemon italian pico de gallo

Part 1 of “When Is A Cod Not A Cod?”

Lingcod are unique to the west coast of North America, with the center of abundance off the coast of British Columbia. They are found on the bottom of the Oceanside areas, occupying rocky areas at depths of 10 to 100 m (32 to 328 feet). Though not roasted acorn squash with chile vinaigretterelated to ling or cod, the name lingcod originated because it somewhat resembles those fish. But it's not cod!

Lingcod are voracious predators, feeding on nearly anything they can fit in their mouths including invertebrates and many species of fish, such as herring and salmon. One of their favorite foods are small octopus. They look positively prehistoric, don't they?

Having just returned from visiting my friend Tom in Florida, I brought back a suitcase full of homegrown meyer lemons picked from a tree in his back yard. They are juicy and much less acidic than regular lemons, with a slight hint of mandarin orange. A simple, thrown together pico de gallo works well with the mild flavor of lingcod, accentuating its melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Lingcod fillets
Olive oil
Mojo Mama Caribbean citrus seasoning

Italian Pico de gallo:
Chopped campari tomatoes
Chopped red onions
Meyer lemon juice
Chopped parsley
Olive oil

Season fillets with coarse salt, pepper, herbs or other flavors you enjoy. I used a Dry Mojo seasoning made by a company called Mojo Mama. This may only be available in Florida. Combine pico de gallo ingredients according to taste.

Melt butter and olive oil. Sauté fish about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat, plate and top with pico de gallo. Served here with wild rice and roasted acorn squash in chile vinaigrette.

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