Privately, (and now publicly) I always thought I could do a better job than Dan Eaton.Â For those of you without a television, Eaton is the face of the “Cooking at Home” segment that can be seen on 24 hour news channels across New York State.Â He comes across very likable, safe, but generally lacking in personality. My biggest complaint is that I always feel that he thinks he’s talking to his 8 year old niece when he’s filming, rather than adults genuinely interested in what he has to say about food…very deliberate, very quiet, and non-threatening…as if someone is taking a nap in the room next to the kitchen.
Our last stop on a recent whirlwind Saturday night tour of bad Rochester sports bars landed us at a new Mexican spot that has bands on weekends.Â The band that night…The Dan Eaton Band.Â These guys don’t aspire to be more than they are, which is similar to theÂ vibe on “Cooking at Home” as well.Â White guy, bar-band blues rockÂ …think a watered down, whiter Hootie and his Blowfish.Â Despite the fact that I don’t really care for that kind of live music, I was thoroughly entertained…more by watching Eaton attempt some bits of rocking out, rather than the actual songs.Â He was earnest and was having a blast.Â I couldn’t help but root for him and his band, a sentiment that was obviously shared by the rest ofÂ raucous, buzzed-up crowd .
But I was also a little miffed by the whole thing.Â Not only was I pissed that he had a TV cooking gig that I thought I could do better, he now had crossed over into territory that I KNOW I can do better…rock .Â “The balls on this guy!?”,Â I said out loud to nobody.Â I resolved to prove to myself and Dan fucking Eaton(along with my wife) that I can beat him at his own game. So I set out to make a killer Sunday meal for my family…I made Pan Roasted Cod, Roasted New Potatoes, and Asparagus with a Bacon and Tomato stew.Â These aren’t my ideas, but I made them taste great…your move Dan.
Pan Roasted Atlantic Cod
- 2 pounds cod fillet, cut into 12 rectangular pieces
- Kosher salt
- Canola oil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fleur de sel
Remove the fish from the refrigerator and let stand for 15 minutes.
Position oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Check thecod to be sure all bones were removed. Season on both sides with salt. Add some canola oil to two large ovenproof frying pans and heat over high heat until it shimmers. (If you donâ€™t have two pans, cook the fish in batches and transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet, then finish in the oven.) Add 6 pieces of cod to each pan, presentation (nicer) side down, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom of the fish is golden.
Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer the pans to the oven and cook for about 2 minutes, until just cooked through.
Remove the pans from the oven, flip the fish over, and â€œkissâ€ the second side for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a platter, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. Serves 6.
Asparagus with Bacon and Tomato Stew
3 oz. thick cut bacon, cut into 1â€³ x 1/4â€³ lardons
2 Tbls. coarsley chopped leeks, white part only
2 Tbls. onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
kosher salt + pepper
one 14-oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes
2 1/2 lbs. large asparagas, trimmed and peeled
1/4 cup Â plus 2 Tbls. chicken stock
â€¢ prepare all your ingredients
â€¢ pour 2 tablespoons water into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. add the bacon and reduce heat and let bacon render for 30 minutes. Â transfer bacon to paper towels using a slotted spoon. Â save bacon fat.
â€¢ keep 2 tablespoons in pan, reserve the rest of the bacon fat, and add the leeks, onions, garlic and stir to coat. Â add salt and pepper to taste. cook for 5-7 minutes or until the veggies are soft. add the tomatoes with their juices and simmer for 45 minutes.
â€¢ transfer half the mixture to a mini chopper and process until puree. add back into pan. cook for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. stir in the bacon and reduce the heat to low.
â€¢ heat a large frying pan, that could hold half the asparagas in a single layer over medium low heat. pour a film of the reserved bacon fat or some canola oil into the pan and lay the asparagus over the fat. Â add 3 tablespoons of stock and some salt. Â cook until tender, about 7 minutes. repeat with the other half of the asparagus.
â€¢ lay a layer of sauce on a your platter. Â layer your asparagus over the sauce and top with remaining sauce. Â sprinkle with a little fresh parm and some good olive oil.