This dish perfectly captures the spirit of the Eat Retreat community. Just before our Pennsylvania retreat, fisherman and Eat Retreat alum Marsh Skeele sent us a special package. The contents of that package was Alaskan sablefish—also called black cod—caught by Marsh and frozen at sea. Another package arrived from Eat Retreat alum Vincent Ricchiuti of Enzo Olive Oil in Fresno, California. Vincent sent us a week’s supply of his organic extra virgin olive oil. Lesley Stockton put these two ingredients together in one stunning dish, a collaboration over thousands of miles.
1 teaspoon while coriander
1 teaspoon whole fennel
2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 pounds black cod, bones and skin removed
up to 3 cups Enzo Extra Virgin olive oil
1 small head fennel, thinly shaved, fronds reserved
1 shallot, thinly shaved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper for seasoning
In a small dry skillet (not nonstick), add coriander and fennel and toast over medium-high heat, swirling frequently, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Using a (cooled) skillet, smash the spices until cracked open, add to a small bowl along with salt and sugar, toss to mix. Coat cod with salt mixture and wrap well in plastic wrap. Place wrapped fish in a pie plate or other shallow dish. Refrigerate for 2 days.
In a saucepan small enough to just fit the fish (this will keep you from using too much oil), heat 1-inch of olive oil over medium heat, and heat to 200 degrees. Add fish and cook until opaque throughout, 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, add fennel, shallot, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon poaching oil. Toss to combine. Serve cod whole or thinly sliced with fennel salad.