Sautéed Cod with Asparagus Sauce and Fennel

Yield: 6 first-course servings


Ingredients:

*2 lbs asparagus, trimmed

*6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter

*6 6- to 7- oz cod fillets

*2 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely chopped


Method:

*Cut asparagus tips into 2-inch long pieces; set aside. Peel asparagus stalks. Cut stalks into 1-inch pieces. Cook stalks in large saucepan of boiling slightly salted water until very tender, about 6-7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer stalks to blender. Add ¾ cup cooking liquid to blender. Blend until very smooth, adding more cooking liquid to thin sauce. Blend 2 tbsp butter into sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Sauce can be made one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.


*Transfer sauce to medium sauce pan. Bring sauce to a simmer. Remove from heat. Cover to keep warm. Cook asparagus tips in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain.


*Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in each of 2 heavy large skillets over medium-high heat. Add 3 fish fillets to each skillet and cook until golden and opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side.


* Spoon warm sauce onto plates. Top with fish. Garnish with asparagus tips. Sprinkle with fennel seeds and serve.



Wine Selections:

Red Bicyclette 2006 ROSE (Languedoc, France)

A-Mano 2007 PINOT GRIGIO (Venezie, Italy)

Edna Valley 2007 CHARDONNAY (San Luis Obispo, California

Salt River Lobster

Bringing the freshest seafood to the DC/Bethesda area for over 25 years

Wine selections from Ms. Jane Hermansen of the Greater Washington Wine School

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