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Poached Cod in Coconut Milk

It’s funny how sometimes the memory of a dish will follow you around for months, even years. It was sometime last spring that I had a dish like that, at Range here in San Francisco. The memorable dish was remarkably simple, though I didn’t know that at the time: Cod a la Nage. A la nage has something to with swimming in French, and refers to the cooking technique, wherein you poach the fish in a lovely broth of wine, aromatics and butter. I wasn’t too keen, however, on the ridiculous quantity of butter traditionally called for, and so I opted to boost the flavor of the broth with coconut milk. Coupled with the tangy, lemony flavors of sorrel, the delicate qualities of beech mushrooms and the anisette notes of tarragon, it’s a perfect, light dish for spring.

This Poached Cod in Coconut Milk Recipe is part of the April Seasonal Food Guide (but can be eaten long after April’s passed!)

Inspired by Range and Saveur’s Salmon a la Nage
Serves 2

2 8-ounce cod fillets (can substitute any firm white fish or salmon)
12 ounces dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced shallot
8 ounces coconut milk
8 ounces water
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced + more for garnish
1 tablespoon flatleaf parsley, minced
2 ounces brown beech mushrooms (can substitute any light, delicately-flavored mushroom)
handful fresh sorrel (can substitute other spring greens)
salt + pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes to soften. Salt and pepper both sides of the cod fillets and place in pan. Add the wine and water and poach cod until cooked, about 7 minutes. Using a large spatula, remove cod from broth and place in wide, shallow soup bowls. Place bowls with cod in oven to keep warm.

Raise the heat on broth and bring to a boil to reduce by about one cup. Reduce heat to medium low and add coconut milk, remaining butter, tarragon and parsley, and stir. Add mushrooms and cook for about five minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove bowls from oven. Divide fresh sorrel between the bowls. Ladle broth over the fish and sorrel. Garnish with fresh tarragon leaves. Serve immediately.

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  • Jess - May 6, 2011 - 5:21 pm

    That sounds lovely- great idea to use the coconut milk, I bet it paired beautifully with the lemony sorrel. This dish might be nice with some toasted hazelnuts to garnish. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • tami - May 6, 2011 - 5:23 pm

    going in my file to make later. so beautiful. thank you, as always, for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Joy - May 6, 2011 - 5:56 pm

    That looks unbelievably delicious! Seafood mhmmm.ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - May 6, 2011 - 6:22 pm

    I love the variation with coconut milk. Thanks for another lovely recipe.ReplyCancel

  • kankana - May 6, 2011 - 11:10 pm

    this looks so creamy and delicious .. Thinking how to convince hubby to eat this as he likes only fish fryReplyCancel

  • Joanne - May 7, 2011 - 4:57 am

    That coconut broth sounds absolutely luscious! I’d be slurping up the leftovers from the bowl as if it were cereal milk.ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - May 7, 2011 - 12:58 pm

    This looks delicious! I’ve been doing a lot of poaching lately but haven’t tried coconut milk – it’s going on the list. And I’ve never tried sorrel before!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food - May 7, 2011 - 7:36 pm

    What a fantastic spring dish! The depth of the flavors here are so refreshing. Beautiful post!ReplyCancel

  • bianca - May 8, 2011 - 2:03 pm

    This looks positively divine- so fresh and perfect for spring!ReplyCancel

  • Maria @ Scandifoodie - May 8, 2011 - 3:18 pm

    I love this idea! Coconut milk would give such beautiful flavour to the fish, I’ll have to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie - May 9, 2011 - 2:26 pm

    Sounds orgasmic! LOL I need to cook with coconut milk more often. The stuff brings me to my knees! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane - May 9, 2011 - 4:26 pm

    Love this photo and recipe — incredibly appetizing and comforting.
    I also use coconut milk in place of butter and other fats. It’s such a fabulous way to boost the flavor profile. Thanks for another great idea!ReplyCancel

  • […] to Kimberly at <a href=””>The Year In Food</a>.   Leave a […]ReplyCancel

  • Kulsum at JourneyKitchen - May 17, 2011 - 1:16 am

    Beautiful. I always have coconut milk hanging out in the pantry – that’s how much I love it :-)ReplyCancel

  • Strictly Foodie - May 17, 2011 - 5:57 pm

    Wow, this looks so simple, fresh and delicious. A must-make!ReplyCancel

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  • Poached Fish in Coconut Broth | Uber Ube - September 28, 2011 - 1:07 pm

    […] Amazing recipe adapted from The Year in Food: […]ReplyCancel

  • Eva - February 5, 2012 - 4:37 pm

    I’ve made this recipe several times and my family loves it!

    Recipe as is is perfect! The only difference is sometimes instead of sorrel I use fennel bulb. Slice it very thin and throw it in with the onions. Once the onions are done add a splash of white wine and let the fennel finish cooking till tender for about 20 mins then follow through with the rest of the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - March 5, 2012 - 5:18 pm

    I made this tonight, and it was amazing. One of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Thanks for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] recipe was taken from a blog called The Year in Food. Here! I used baby spinach leaves instead of sorrel- it was so good and pretty […]ReplyCancel

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