For the fish stock:
(This recipe is adapted from the court boullion in James Beard’s cookbook that, trust me, no kitchen should be without.)
Large stock pot
2 -4 lbs. fish bones, heads or tails (order ahead from The Local Catch. Swordfish is a good choice as end cuts are readily available in season.)
6 quarts water
1 lb garlic scapes or green garlic, washed, trimmed and rough-chopped
1 tablespoon whole cloves
10 – 12 bay leaves, broken in half
2 whole lemons, well-rinsed and quartered
Teaspoon black or green (or mixed) peppercorns
Large sprig thyme or tarragon, as available
Fill stock pot about half with water, then immerse fish parts, chopped garlic/scapes, cloves and bay leaves into pot so all the bones are covered. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to just under medium and simmer semi-covered for 1 hour. Turn off heat, then squeeze lemons into pot and add lemon rinds (they will add distinct flavor.) Stir stock and set aside to cool, then strain into a large bowl. If making cod dish same day, leave out at room temperature. If making ahead of time store tightly in fridge.
The goal is to end up with about 3 – 4 quarts of stock for main dish and rice. Extra stock is easily frozen for a month or two.
(Ps: It’s wise to crack the kitchen window when making fish stock, for obvious reasons….)
For the main dish:
Large sauce pot or very deep sauté pan
Sea Salt and white pepper
1 16 oz. can coconut milk
2 quarts fish stock at room temperature
2 lbs cod filets from The Local Catch, ask for thick loin pieces if available
1/4 cup canola, safflower, or other neutral-flavored oil
2 bunches (about 8 oz) spring onions, ends removed and chopped; (Should make between 1 – 2 cups. Reserve tops for garnish.)
1/4 cup grated baby ginger root (from Fort Hill Farm)
1 pint King oyster mushrooms (it is a seafood dish after all) from Seacoast Mushrooms, sliced in half longways with stems on
(Note: it’s best not to rinse fresh mushrooms as they may discolor and change texture. If needed, wipe lightly with damp paper towel.)
Pat dry cod filets (don’t wash) with paper towels, season lightly on each side with sea salt and white pepper and set aside. In pot/deep pan, bring oil to medium heat, then add onions and mushrooms just to sweat, stirring for 3 minutes. Stir in grated ginger, and very slowly add fish stock and coconut milk. Stir again to mix, then lower heat to a simmer. Carefully add cod filets and poach covered, without turning, for 15 minutes. Divide fish into four portions and serve in large bowls with poaching liquid over seasoned rice. Garnish with finely chopped spring onion tops.
For the seasoned rice (start when fish begins to poach)
1 cup white rice
2 1/2 cups fish stock at room temperature
1/4 cup neutral high-smoke oil like canola or safflower
6 – 8 spring onions, chopped. (Reserve tops for garnish.)
In a sauce-pan bring oil to medium heat, then add rice and chopped onions and stir to coat in the oil. Slowly add 2 cups of the fish stock, reserving 1/2 cup. Stir to blend all ingredients and let mixture reach a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, semi-covered, until stock is absorbed (10 – 15 minutes, don’t stir more than once or twice.) If the rice needs more liquid (your heat may be too high) stir in reserved fish stock, about 1/4 cup at a time. Once all liquid is absorbed turn off the heat, fully cover the pot and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Put a generous scoop of rice under each poached cod portion. Garnish with finely chopped onion tops and enjoy!