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Patricia Wells' Seared
Pancetta-Wrapped Cod



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Harbour Boats and Waterfront Houses, St. Tropez, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France
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La Belle Cuisine


Seared Pancetta-Wrapped Cod

Patricia Wells at
Home in Provence:
Recipes Inspired by
Her Farmhouse
in France

by Patricia Wells, 1996, Scribner

“Inspired by London chef Alastair Little – who served me a version of this one winter evening in his London SoHo restaurant – this simple, flavorful dish can
be prepared in a matter of minutes. Fish fillets are given a protective wrapping – either pancetta, ham, or bacon – that adds a touch of needed fat and also helps create a brilliant contrast of color and texture. The wrapping acts as a second
skin, protecting and imparting flavor and texture to the final dish. I always keep
a piece of Provençal ‘pancetta’ (peppered rolled pork sold as poitrine roulé) on
hand and wrap my fish with paper-thin slices – sliced as thin as humanly pos-
sible without creating pieces of lace! The end result is a lovely blending of the
land and the sea, the crunchy and the soft, a splash of red, white, and green.”

Four servings

4 codfish fillets, each about 6 ounces (180 g)
or substitute monkfish, tilefish, grouper,
or striped bass
4 very thin slices of pancetta, unsmoked
ham, or unsmoked bacon
3 tablespoons capers
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley leaves, snipped
with a scissors, for garnish

1. Wrap the pieces of fish in ham, bacon, or pancetta. Secure with
toothpicks at each end.
2. Drain the capers, rinse well, and soak in cold water for 10 minutes
to remove excess salt.
3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over moderately
high heat until hot but not smoking. Sear the wrapped pieces of fish
for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the fish are firm to the touch
and offer little resistance when pressed with the fingertip.
4. While the fish is cooking, in a small saucepan combine the drained
capers, the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil, and the lemon juice. Stir
to blend and warm gently over low heat.
5. Transfer the fish to 4 warmed plates, season very generously with
pepper, and spoon the sauce on top and around the fish. Sprinkle
with parsley.

Wine Suggestion:  This dish calls for a rich, dry white wine:
a Rhône Valley white, such as a Châteauneuf du Pape, or
a California or Australian Chardonnay.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Catalan Tuna Daube
Cod with Radicchio, White Beans, and Lemon
Vinaigrette (Union Square Cafe)

Cod, Shrimp, and Scallops Simmered
in Broth with Aioli


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