Cod with Chile Oil on a Bed of Clapshot with Fried Arame




The Scots have eaten seaweed for many centuries. Mild-flavored arame (Eisenia bicyclis) grows in broad leaves and is processed into clusters of fine threads.

2 fresh hot chiles, such as scotch bonnets,
stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup dried arame
1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
1 3/4 cups vegetable oil

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cubed

6 6-oz. center-cut skinless cod filets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, peeled
and cut into long strips
Leaves of 12 sprigs fresh cilantro**

1. For the chile oil: Combine chiles, coriander seeds, salt, and oil in a small jar, cover, and set aside in a cool dark place to let infuse for 3 days. Strain into another jar, discarding solids, and set aside.

2. For the seaweed: Soak seaweed in a medium bowl of warm water until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain, then dry well with paper towels. Put garlic and oil into a small pot and heat over medium-high heat until temperature registers 375° on a candy thermometer. Remove and discard garlic. Add seaweed and fry, stirring frequently, until puffed and crisp, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.

3. For the clapshot: Put potatoes and rutabagas into two separate pots, cover each with cold water, and add large pinches of salt to each. Gently boil vegetables over medium heat until soft when pierced, 10-15 minutes for the potatoes and 15-20 minutes for the rutabagas. Drain each, then rice or mash them together in a large nonreactive heatproof bowl. Add 2 tbsp. of the chile oil, season to taste with salt, and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface of clapshot, and keep warm over a pot of gently simmering water.

4. For the cod: Preheat oven to 450°. Season fi sh all over with salt and pepper. Place 1 piece of fi sh, skinned side down, in the center of a large piece of foil. Arrange 3 strips of red pepper on top of fi sh diagonally, drizzle fi sh with 1 tbsp. of the chile oil, then gather edges of foil together and crimp to make a tightly sealed packet. Repeat process, making 6 packets in all. Put fi sh packets on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in oven until fish is cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Unwrap fish.

5. To serve, spoon equal amounts of clapshot in the center of 6 warm plates, set a piece of fish, red pepper side up, on top of each, and sprinkle some of the seaweed and cilantro around fi sh on each plate.

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