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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Seattle Chef Tom Douglas offers his recipe on how to prepare your lingcod catch


The lingcod fishery is in full swing around Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and off the coast, with anglers finding good catches of this tasty white-meated fish.

Seattle chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas offers his tasty lingcod recipe for those looking at ways to cook up their catch.

Douglas will contribute some of his tasty recipes for my blog, and each will be related to the “catch of the week.” It will appear regularly on Wednesdays through October, along with recipes from other local chefs, and owners of tackle shops and fish markets.

Douglas is owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, Dahlia Bakery, Etta’s, Serious Pie Downtown, Seatown, Brave Horse Tavern, Cuoco, Serious Biscuit, Serious Pie Westlake and Ting Momo.

Ling Cod in Grape Leaves with Pine Nut Fig Butter

From Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen Cookbook

(Serves 4)


4 tablespoons soft butter

1 tablespoon chopped toasted pine nuts (see note below)

1 tablespoon finely chopped dried figs

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup water

1 shallot, roughly chopped

2 thyme sprigs

1 1/2 pounds ling cod, cut into 4 portions

Grape leaves (either from the jar, well rinsed with cold water and patted dry, or fresh, blanched, see comments below)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon wedges and thyme sprigs for garnish

If you have grapevines in your garden, pick some leaves in early summer when they’re still tender. They just need to be briefly blanched in boiling water and drained. You can, of course, use the Greek grape leaves sold in jars.

Note: Toast the pine nuts in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until browned and aromatic. Or toast them in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and watching them carefully.


To make the pine nut fig butter, mix the butter, figs, pine nuts, lemon zest, and chopped thyme in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In an oven-proof pan, large enough to hold all the fish, combine the wine, water, shallot, and thyme sprigs. Cover the pan and allow it to slowly simmer over low heat for 20 minutes to make a quick court bouillon.

Meanwhile, spread each piece of fish with some of the pine nut fig butter. Then lay several grape leaves out on your work surface and place the fish butter side down on the grape leaves. Wrap the fish in the leaves and place them seam side down in the pan of court bouillon (so the buttered side is facing up). Place the pan, uncovered, in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the fish is done. Remove the grape leaf-wrapped fish from the court-bouillon.

Cut open the grape leaves to reveal the melted butter on the inside, still leaving most of the wrapper intact. Serve with a lemon wedge and a sprig of thyme.

(Photo by Greg Gilbert, Seattle Times staff photographer)



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