Prosciutto-wrapped B.C. Lingcod

5 Jul

Chef Frank Pabst thinks we should all be eating more jellyfish–that and periwinkles, sea cucumber and geoduck. If we keep scarfing down Atlantic salmon, bottom-trawled cod and bluefin tuna at the rate we do now, our great grandkids won’t even know what those fish taste like.

Every year, Frank makes such lesser-known delicacies the rockstars on the menu at his Vancouver restaurant, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar. During his “Unsung Heroes” event, people can taste seafood that is plentiful and sustainable paired with local wines.

When I visited earlier this year, Frank introduced me to another ocean-friendly treat: B.C. Lingcod. It’s a huge fish with the strong jaw and sharp teeth of a snarly guard dog. The longest one on record was 1.5 m long, and these whoppers are abundant off the coast off B.C. I’d never tasted it before, but was impressed by its mild flavour and rich texture. You can use B.C. lingcod as a substitute for any over-consumed white fish, in dishes such as chowder or fish and chips.

Frank tamed this monster by wrapping it in prosciutto, dusting it with porcini powder, and serving it with braised Savoy cabbage and beluga lentils in a brown butter and sherry vinaigrette. The gentle taste of the lingcod is brought out by the saltiness of the prosciutto, earthiness of the porcini, and sharpness of the rich dressing. The shredded cabbage makes a deliciously buttery nest for the fish, and the tiny black beluga lentils add interesting texture with their satisfying bite. (French green lentils make a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on those.) Enjoy!

Serves 4

4 pieces  fresh Lingcod filets (5 oz/ 150 g each)
4 large slices of Oyama prosciutto, 4 thinly sliced.
1 tsp (5 mL) Porcini powder
olive oil

1 head Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
½ whole white onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp butter 15 mL
1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
¼ cup water 60 mL

¼ cup (60 mL) Beluga lentils, precooked  in vegetable stock

1 Tbsp (15 mL) carrot brunoise, finely diced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) celery brunoise, finely diced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) red onion brunoise, finely diced
pinch garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Italian parsley, chiffonade
2 Tbsp (30 mL) sherry vinegar
¼ cup (60 mL)unsalted butter
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
lemon juice, to taste



Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, just until butter turns golden. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the onions until they are soft and fragrant. Add Savoy cabbage, more salt and pepper to taste and ½ cup of water. Cover with a lid and cook for 8-10 minutes until the cabbage is completely wilted, but still has some texture to it. Keep warm.

For vinaigrette, add ¼ cup of unsalted butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, until butter turns golden brown and begins to smell nutty. Immediately add onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook vegetables until fragrant but not coloured, approximately 2 minutes. Add the beluga lentils. Deglaze with sherry vinegar and reduce by half. Add parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Season Lingcod filets with salt and pepper and generously dust with porcini powder. Wrap each filet in 1 slice of prosciutto. Preheat a frying pan to a medium-high heat and add olive oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side, until prosciutto is crisp and lingcod barely cooked through.

Place the hot cabbage in form of a small nest in the center of warmed plates. Pour the vinaigrette and lentil mixture around the cabbage. Place the cooked Lingcod on top of the cabbage.

One Response to “Prosciutto-wrapped B.C. Lingcod”

  1. Angie Gallop July 9th, 2012 at 1:14 PM #

    I’d love to see him take on sea lamprey — a serious pest in the Great Lakes.

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