Cod is not at the top of my list of preferred fishes, though I happily devour it when it is turned into that British delicacy fish and chips. Yet Mapie de Toulouse-Lautrec’s La Cuisine de France (Orion Press, 1961) has a curious recipe for it that marries this humble denizen of the sea with grapefuit juice and a silken cream sauce. I’m not entirely sure of the origins of this unlikely combination of ingredients but I can attest that the flavour is superb. The grapefruit cuts through the richness of the fish and the sauce and lends a flavourful piquancy. Plus the pink grapefruit wedges used to garnish the platter look so jolly, especially alongside the chopped-parsley garnish. It’s like a dish intended for readers of The Preppy Handbook.
FILETS DE CABILLAUD AUX PAMPLEMOUSSE (COD FILLETS WITH GRAPEFRUIT)
SOURCE: La Cuisine de France by Mapie de Toulouse-Lautrec (Orion, 1961)
SERVES 6 PERSONS
6 large cod fillets
7 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons oil
2 hard-boiled eggs
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Wipe the cod fillets well and dredge them lightly with flour. Heat half the butter and oil in a skillet and sauté the fillets over a moderately low heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are nicely browned on both sides.
At the same time, heat the rest of the butter in a saucepan. Add the cream, the juice of 1/2 grapefruit, and the eggs crushed fine with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm, but do not allow the sauce to boil.
Put the fish on a heated platter and pour over the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Garnish with half slices of grapefruit and serve.