Cod With Asparagus Spoon Salad

If the first stirrings of spring move you to look for any excuse to eat asparagus, this simple preparation deserves a spot on your weeknight dinner roster. Here we treat asparagus like a condiment, thinly slicing the tender, juicy stalks crosswise into coins and mixing them with fresh chopped herbs, briny olives, and savoury anchovies. The resulting saucy mixture is the perfect topper for flaky cod dipped in flour and quickly cooked in ghee until golden. If you can’t find cod, any flaky fish would be delicious here—just decrease the cook time by a few minutes if using particularly thin fillets (like tilapia). —Christina Chaey

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Ingredients

4 servings

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 oil-packed anchovy fillets

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1 lb. asparagus, woody ends trimmed, sliced ¼”-thick into rounds

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Zest of ½ lemon

1 garlic clove, finely grated

½ cup finely chopped mixed tender herbs (such as chives, mint, dill, parsley, and/or cilantro)

⅓ cup coarsely chopped pitted Castelvetrano or other green olives

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ cup all-purpose flour

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4 5–6-oz. cod, hake, or haddock fillets, patted dry

2 Tbsp. ghee or vegetable oil

Lemon wedges (for serving; optional)

Preparation

Step 1

Heat 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium. Add 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Cook, stirring constantly, until anchovies start to break up and melt, about 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high and add 1 lb. asparagus, woody ends trimmed, sliced ¼”-thick into rounds; season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, just until asparagus is bright green and crisp-tender, about 30 seconds. (If your spears are especially thin or thick, you might need to cook them slightly less or more. You’re going for barely cooked here; the asparagus will continue to cook off the heat.) Mix in zest of ½ lemon and 1 garlic clove, finely grated. Transfer asparagus mixture to a medium bowl; wipe out skillet and reserve (no need to wash).

Step 2

Add ½ cup finely chopped mixed tender herbs (such as chives, mint, dill, parsley, and/or cilantro), ⅓ cup coarsely chopped pitted Castelvetrano or other green olives, 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and remaining 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil to bowl with asparagus and mix well. Taste asparagus salad and season with more salt and pepper as needed; set aside.

Step 3

Place ½ cup all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl or small baking dish. Season four 5–6-oz. cod, hake, or haddock fillets, patted dry, on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge fillets in flour, shaking off excess, and transfer to a plate.

Step 4

Heat 2 Tbsp. ghee or vegetable oil in reserved skillet over medium-high. Add fish and cook, turning once, until flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, 6–8 minutes.

Step 5

Divide fish among plates and top each with a few big spoonful of reserved asparagus salad.


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