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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 21, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Chef Tom Douglas likes versatility of lingcod and offers his insight on serving this delightful fish

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The lingcod fishing season is now in full swing from Puget Sound clear out into the coastal waters, and Seattle chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas provides his take on how to cook them.

This season we’ll have weekly recipes and advice from now through October on how to cook up and dish out a wide variety of local seafood by experts like Anthony’s Restaurant; Tiffany Haugen, Outdoor Cooking expert/author; tackle shop owners; local seafood-market owners; and fishing guides and charter services.

Douglas is owner of Lola; Palace Kitchen; Dahlia Lounge; Dahlia Bakery; Etta’s; Serious Pie Downtown; Seatown; Brave Horse Tavern; Cuoco; Serious Pie & Biscuit-Westlake; Serious Pie-Virginia; Tanaka San; and Rub With Love Schack. Some of his other works include Assembly Hall Juice and Coffee and Home Remedy, and this summer he plans on opening a cooking school called Hot Stove Society at the Hotel Andra.

Here is Douglas’ advice on how to prepare them, and wow your guests at the next meal:

Ling cod is a versatile, mild flavored fish with white, flaky flesh that takes well to a number of cooking techniques.

One of my favorite ways to cook ling cod (from my first book, Seattle Kitchen) is to spread a flavorful composed butter, like pine nut butter, over the raw fillets, wrap them in blanched or jarred grape leaves, place them buttered side up in a baking pan with some court bouillon, and braise in the oven until the fish is cooked.

Seattle Times reporter Mark Yuasa with a lingcod caught off Possession Bar.

The butter melts and provides a little sauce inside each of the grape leaf packages. Ling cod also takes well to steaming -in my opinion, an underused technique for fish in the home kitchen- and baking, or you can coat pieces of ling cod in your favorite batter and deep fry.

Another good way to cook ling cod is to sauté it.

For a group of friends or a family dinner, fish tacos are popular and fun to make. In a small bowl, combine enough ancho chile powder, toasted and ground cumin, and salt and pepper to season the amount of fish you’ll be cooking. Generously season the fish fillets -cut into pieces that will fit your pan- on both sides.

Then heat a few tablespoons of a neutral oil like canola in a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, cook the fish until just done, about 4 minutes a side, adjusting the heat as needed.

Remove the fish to a plate.

Ling cod tends to bleed out some moisture after it’s cooked, so let the fish rest a few minutes then transfer it to a clean plate, leaving the liquid behind.

Break the fish into chunks and serve with corn tortillas heated on a griddle (extra points for making your own tortillas), shredded cabbage that has been seasoned well with lime juice and salt (give it at least 10 minutes to wilt a bit), Mexican crema, crème fraiche, or sour cream, sliced avocados, sliced radishes and green onions, and a few of your favorite salsas.

Line it all up on the counter and let everyone make their own tacos.

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