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    Poached Cod & Asparagus

    In this recipe, we poach the cod right on top of the asparagus. The result is perfectly cooked cod and tender-crisp asparagus. The sauce is our take on beurre blanc—a traditional French sauce made with wine and lots of butter. Ours uses a little cornstarch for thickening and a judicious amount of butter for flavor.


    • 1 lemon, divided
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced shallot
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 5 whole black peppercorns
    • 1 1/4 pounds cod, (see Tip), cut into 4 equal portions
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
    • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
    • 1 1/2 bunches asparagus, (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons butter


    Step 1
    Juice half the lemon into a small saucepan; reserve the other half. Whisk in wine and cornstarch until combined. Add shallot, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about half, 10 to 12 minutes.
    Step 2
    Meanwhile, sprinkle cod with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place a tarragon sprig on each portion. Thinly slice the remaining lemon half and lay the slices over the tarragon.
    Step 3
    Place asparagus in an even layer in a large skillet. Add 1/2 cup water. Place the cod on top of the asparagus. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook until the asparagus is tender and the fish is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
    Step 4
    Strain the reduced sauce through a sieve into a bowl. Return it to the pan. Over low heat, swirl butter into the sauce 1 tablespoon at a time until melted. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remove from the heat.
    Step 5
    Serve the fish and asparagus topped with the sauce.


    Tip: Overfishing and trawling have drastically reduced the number of cod in the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic Ocean and destroyed its sea floor. For sustainably fished cod, choose U.S. Pacific cod or Atlantic cod from Iceland and the northeast Arctic. For more information, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch at

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