I've always been wary of mayonnaise-y sauces with fish. Too many encounters with fish sticks and tartar sauce have kept me away. I usually aim for lighter preparations without sauce at all, where the flavor of the fish comes through: grilled with a little salt and pepper, poached in stock, or simply pan-fried with butter. I figure if I spend money on a piece of fish, I don't want to cover it up.
But I pulled this recipe from an old copy of Gourmet (on Epicurious here) and was intrigued. First, you whip up a quick mayonnaise-based sauce similar to tartar, yet lighter with lemon and thyme instead of capers and pickles (a fancier name for this is remoulade). Then you paint it on top of the fish before it goes under the broiler, so it melts into the flesh to season it, keep it moist, and develop a mouthwatering golden brown crust on the top.
For a dinner that literally takes about 10 minutes to prepare, it was elegant and delicious.
Though the recipe calls for pollock, my fishmonger had cod and it was a good replacement. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time for the thickness of the fillets (the one pictured took just four minutes under a pre-heated broiler).
- 4 fillets pollack, cod, or other white fish
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste, or 2 fillets, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
Preheat the broiler. Lay the fillets on a pan and coat with a bit of olive oil on both sides. Lay them skin-side down in a row.
In the meantime, mix together the remaining ingredients. Spread the resulting sauce over the fish.
Broil the fish until just cooked through, depending on thickness, 5-7 inches from the heat, between 3 and 7 minutes.