Recipe Challenge, Day 2 of 5

Welcome to recipe 2 of my 5-day Recipe Challenge!

Catch up with this post if you want the background on this particular cooking series. I'm making my way through Rachael Ray's weeknight meal planner for five dishes, as found in the July issue of her magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray.

Last night, I tackled the Parsley-and-Lemon Cod with Zucchini Salad. However, similar to my disclaimer yesterday, I definitely had to change up this recipe a little bit. We don't mind fish, but I'm not a big fan of arugula (don't like the spice on the lettuce), raw zucchini (the main component) and tomatoes (the third ingredient). So needless to say, the zucchini salad wasn't going to work for us. I'd already purchased the zucchini though, so instead I tried another new recipe for the vegetable: zucchini gratin. 

The Ingredients

Zucchini Gratin
3 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
1 large yellow onion, cut in 1/2 and sliced
2 large zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup hot milk (heat this right before you're ready to use, I did mine on the stovetop)
Fresh bread crumbs (make these from the baguette called for below)
Grated cheese (Parmesan, Gruyere, cheddar or mozzarella all work!)

Parsley-and-Lemon Cod
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 small garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper (I used fresh ground sea salt & pepper)
2-4 skinless cod fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 baguette, cut on an angle into long 3/4 inch-thick slices
EVOO or two pats butter

Step 1) I wanted to get the zucchini gratin going first, since that would take the longest to cook, so I sliced up half a baguette into semi-thin pieces, brushed olive oil on both sides of each and put them in the toaster oven for a couple minutes until they were brown all around the top edges. Then I took a couple pieces and crushed them up with my hands to form crumbs for the topping on the zucchini gratin. Reserve your remaining slices for serving with the meal.

Step 2) Pour yourself a cocktail. It's after 5, isn't it?

Step 3) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt that beautiful butter in a large saute pan, then add your onion and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish. Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.
Step 4) Heat 2 tablespoons of butter or EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the cod with salt and pepper, and squeeze half a lemon over the top. Cook, turning once, until both sides are browned—about 8 minutes.

Step 5) In a small bowl, combine your parsley, minced garlic, lemon zest and juice from the remaining half of lemon. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk with a fork to mix. After the fish is cooked and has been removed from the pan, use a whisk to pour in the seasoning mixture and stir around the pan for 1-2 minutes, then spoon the seasoning over the fish. (Ray's recipe called for the seasoning to simply be mixed and then placed atop the fish, but I wanted to heat mine and gather some of the seasonings from the pan.)

The end result? Pretty good, in my opinion, though not near as picture-perfect as Ray's version. My fish sorta fell apart when I retrieved it from the pan and I think I overcooked it by 2-3 minutes. I'm glad I made the zucchini gratin, though, as it was quite tasty and something I'd never tried before. Definitely a better option for us than zucchini salad! 

For Ray's original instructions, click on the image below to view or print for your own reference. The zucchini salad ingredients are: 2 zucchini, 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes (quartered), 3 tbsp. EVOO, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. parsley and 1 small clove garlic (minced).



  1. I'm loving these posts!!

  2. Me, TOO!!! You are inspiring! Tonight I am making goulash.....you will remember that from your childhood. Only I used whole grain elbow macaroni and a variety of veggies in with the LEAN ground beef. I added tomato sauce and rotel......it is just about done. Pouring another glass of chablis for me and Louis Dean's FIRST glass of cab. I LOVE your cooking posts but then I love ALL your posts!


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