Actor and foodie John Pleshette shares his with us every week.
Steamed Cod with Fennel and Leeks
2 lbs of cod
2 medium fennel bulbs
2 large leeks
1 cup of crème fraiche
Trim leeks. Slice lengthwise and rinse under running water to remove any grit. Cut cross-wise into 1/2-inch pieces.
Peel the fennel bulbs of the tough outer skin. Trim, leaving a couple of inches of the stem. Slice lengthwise in half, then in quarters. Cut cross-wise into 1/2-inch pieces.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan. Add the leeks and the fennel. Season with salt and white pepper.
Cook on a low flame, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent. Don’t allow the leeks to brown.
Add a cup of crème fraiche. Raise the heat and stir until it melts. Turn off the heat and dot the surface with pea-sized pieces of butter.
Lay a foot-long piece of plastic wrap on your counter. Place the fish in the center. Season with salt and white pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Wrap up the fish and place it in a steamer.
Steam cod for about ten minutes or until it just flakes in the center when you prod it with your finger.
Heat the leeks and fennel. Spoon onto a warm platter. Unwrap the fish and lay it on top. Scatter with chopped chervil and chives.
Cellarwise wine pairing
Break out your best Chablis for this dish with its ocean-fresh saline flavor offset by the anise richness of fennel and crème fraiche. My top pick is the stunning ’00 la Chablisienne Chablis Grand Gru Grenouilles (France, $55) with its saltine cracker and, yes, fennel notes. A more budget-conscious Chardonnay showing similar characteristics on a slenderer frame is the ’08 Dom Talmard Macon-Oizly (France, $13), or the ’07 Alois Lageder Chardonnay Sudtirol – Alto Adige (Italy, $15) with impressive bread dough and gravel. A fresh, crisp alternative with snap pean and licorice flavors is the ’08 Jean Merieau Sauvignon Blanc Touraine “Les Hexagonales” (France, $12).