Fillets of Cod with Creamy Prawn and Dill Sauce

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Cod is an often underrated fish, not associated with more sophisticated dishes. Cooked carefully, however, its large flakes should be moist and smooth with a delicate flavour. These fillets are poached lightly in a white wine and prawn stock, which then becomes part of the creamy prawn sauce, making it a luxurious dish. Serve with new potatoes and a green vegetable.

Ingredients

  • 375 g (12 oz) prawns in their shells
  • 3 large cloves garlic, sliced roughly
  • 2 rounded teaspoons paprika
  • 300 ml (½ pint) dry white wine
  • 300 ml (½ pint) water
  • 4 thick pieces cod fillet, about 250 g (8 oz) each
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz) double cream
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 rounded tablespoon roughly chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and black pepper (optional)

Method

Peel the prawns, putting the shells and heads into a saucepan and the prawns into a bowl. Add the sliced garlic and paprika to the prawn shells and pour in the white wine and water. Cover the saucepan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a wide saucepan into which the pieces of cod fillet will fit close together in a single layer.

Lay the fillets skin side upwards in the prawn stock. Cover the saucepan, put over a medium to low heat and keep only just trembling for 8–10 minutes until the fish is opaque white all through. Using a wide slotted fish slice carefully lift out the fillets and put on to a warmed serving dish. Again carefully, peel off the skin and discard. Keep the fish loosely covered in a low oven or warm place while you make the sauce.

Bubble the poaching liquid fiercely over a high heat for about 3 minutes until slightly reduced. Stir in the cream and bubble fiercely for 1 minute until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and freshly gound black pepper if necessary, then add the prawns and the chopped dill. Spoon the sauce over the cod fillets and serve at once.

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