Pretzel-Crusted Cod with Creamy Orange Sauce

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Butter can do amazing things. And I’m not talking about those fake butter spreads, which I admit I do use regularly, but real butter, that stuff articles on the internet love to tell you to avoid eating because it’s “fat” and fat is bad. Actually, we need fat in our diets. Fat just gets a bad reputation because yes, it’s high in calories. But you don’t need a lot of butter to reap its rewards. Just a couple pats of it is often all you need to elevate a dish with its moist creaminess. Fish is a great example.

Tonight I decided to make cod, but I wanted to do something new, not my usual bread-crumbs, lemon juice, and parsley. So I tried an idea I’ve been developing in my mind ever since I read “pretzel-crusted pork chop” on a menu and later ordered a dish with an orange cream sauce I loved. I didn’t order the pork, so I didn’t have anything to compare my results to, but I at least had a sense of the sauce I wanted. I hesitate to make cream sauces because my horrible stove easily burns things, so this was only my second attempt at making an orange cream sauce (the first time I used garlic and it burned; I decided to skip the garlic tonight).

After looking through many recipes online, mainly to explore techniques, I developed my own rendition of an orange cream sauce. Different sources will tell you different things as far as when to add what, so I did my best. The most important thing, it seems to me, is that you keep the temperature very low, as butter and honey burn VERY easily and love to reduce more than you want them to just by sitting too long while you taste. I added the butter last in small pats, whisking constantly, which seemed to work really well. I read that it’s important not to let the sauce boil once you add the butter because otherwise the butter will separate from the rest of the ingredients. The sauce I developed was almost what I wanted. Next time I will probably not use white wine vinegar because combined with the orange, the sauce had a bit too much acidity. I think I will also go easier on the honey. It’s easy to make the sauce too sweet and then it begins to resemble candy instead of a sauce for fish.

Anyway, here is what I used:

  • Cod
  • Pretzels, crushed or chopped (I used flavored ones, but plain would work just fine)
  • Butter
  • Cayenne
  • Orange juice, squeezed from an orange
  • Honey
  • Orange juice, squeezed from that same orange
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • White wine?
  • Half and half
  • More butter
  • Fresh parsley or basil

 

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