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The Earthbound Cook
by Myra Goodman

This green sauce is an Italian-inspired combination of herbs, capers, and anchovies that resembles pesto in color. However, it's much lighter in texture and far less caloric than pesto, with a very clean, bright taste. It looks ordinary enough but it packs an astonishing amount of flavor, transforming any dish it encounters. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste—more or less of the anchovies, garlic, and capers. I love its versatility. Here I've used it as a topping for Pacific cod, a white-fleshed fish that has a mild flavor and a firm flake. Although the Atlantic cod is now seriously depleted through overfishing, its U.S.-caught Pacific cousin is relatively abundant in Alaskan waters and is your most sustainable choice. The green herb sauce is terrific with other lean white fish, such as catfish, halibut, striped bass, or white sea bass. I also like it tossed with hot pasta for a quick and simple side dish.
Serves 4


    Green Sauce:
    • 3 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
    • 3 cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
    • 5 canned anchovy fillets
    • 2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed
    • 1 medium-size garlic clove, peeled
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 4 to 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 skinless Pacific cod fillets (about 6 ounces each)
    • Lemon wedges, for serving


1. Prepare the sauce: Place the basil, parsley, anchovies, capers, garlic, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and process until the mixture forms a coarse puree, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

2. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil to make a smooth puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (The sauce can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.)

3. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.

4. Prepare the fish: Add the olive oil to an ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron). Arrange the fish fillets in the skillet so that they are not touching. Spread a generous amount of Green Sauce over each fillet.

5. Roast until the fish is just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve hot, with lemon wedges alongside.

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