Seared cod with pancetta roasted leeks and mushrooms

Man oh man. This was an amazing dinner. So many surprising and delicious elements - and so fast. I pulled this one (literally) from the pages of Real Simple during my winter plague. I never really believe the "30 minute meals" call out - especially for the first time you make something. So, it was surprising to me that this actually could have been a quick weeknight meal.

I managed to make this dinner on a "busy" Sunday. I went to yoga, finally packed away the Christmas stuff, and prepped for Spring plantings. I am so excited about this. With all my time on the couch, I somewhat methodically planned out how this will all happen. It's probably going to fail but at least I have a spreadsheet tracking my plan. Spring is coming though - it's in the air for sure. There were 19 people on the beach during sunset including sweet Ruby May and that is about 18 more than I've seen the past three months.
But, here are a few notes about this meal:
  • Fish // This feels so silly but I just learned the difference between ordering a loin v fillet cut. The loin is essentially a thicker piece - and kind of what I've always wanted. So silly that I didn't consciously realize this until now.
  • Salty // The original recipe called for bacon but I opted for pancetta because I had it on hand... and it's saltier... and I skew salty. If you are trying to contain this flavor profile, just hold back a bit on this ingredient.
  • Seared v Baked // The absolutely love a seared fish. Ideally, I love a seared fish with a nice crust to it. It's so good. In this recipe, I opted for a slightly hybrid approach because searing creates a lot of smoke in my kitchen. You can go either way. Baking only keeps this meal the ultimate in low impact on energy and involvement.
Here's how it goes:
(Step 1) Preheat the oven to 425°.

(Step 2) Combine the leeks, mushrooms, bacon, garlic, sage, lemons, 2 tablespoons of 
 the oil, and ½ teaspoon of the salt on a baking sheet and toss to coat. Roast until the leeks are softened, 20 minutes. 

(Step 3) Dry and season both sides of the fish. Place in a hot skillet for about 3 minutes on either side. Then remove from the skillet and arrange the fish on top of the vegetables and roast until the vegetables are tender, the bacon is crisp, and the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Note: if you go with only baking, it's probably like a 15 minute cook time.

(Step 4) Divide the vegetables, fish, and lemon halves (for squeezing) on 4 plates and garnish with chives if desired.
Shopping List 
6 leeks (2¼ pounds), white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise
1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved if large
4 ounces bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 sage leaves
2 lemons, halved
¼ extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 6-ounce skinless cod fillets
chopped chives, optional, for garnish

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