Gratin of Cod, Prawns, Spinach & Pesto served with Smoked Salmon & Saffron Orzo

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Most of the recipes on here are firm favourites, meals I have cooked over the years, tried and tested, clean plates often the sign I take that “that worked well”. But this is a totally new find – which encourages me to a summer of eating (YES! That’s a great plan!) and trying out as many of my bookmarked, yet to try, dogeared recipes from a vast collection of books, magazines, emails from friends and relatives, newspaper clippings and internet finds. This recipe excites me, to think of all the wonderful dinners I have yet to try and sets me off on a summer of blogging – almost a year of it now and I’m realizing, thankfully, that I am never going to run out of ideas (when there are so many cooks and chefs willing to share!)
This is adapted from Nevin McGuire’s “MacNean Restaurant Cookbook” and has to be one of the easiest, most impressive dinner recipes I have ever discovered. It definitely has a “WOW” restaurant feel, look and most importantly, taste,  about it and when made once, I found I could do it the next time almost from memory. Its that easy. He says in his often brilliant but at times slightly over elaborate Restaurant Cookbook (in my opinion) that ‘this is consistently one of the most popular fish dishes’ in his internationally acclaimed (and booked out over a year in advance!) restaurant in Blacklion, Co. Cavan http://www.nevenmaguire.com and I’m not surprised. He suggests serving it on a bed of Orzo with smoked salmon – also a first for me but now a firm favourite.
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Ingredients:
(makes 4, I halved this and made it a romantic / not quite romantic as the kids wouldn’t go away meal for two)
4 x 175g cod fillets
16 raw prawns, peeled
4 teaspoons of sweet chilli sauce
125g grated mozzarella cheese
4 tablespoons of pesto
Salt and Pepper
50g butter
225g spinach, washed and stalks removed
pinch of caster sugar
Orzo (75g per person)
50 ml cream per person
4 slices smoked salmon
finely grated rind one lemon
PREPARATION
Preheat the over to 180c . Line a baking tin/sheet with greaseproof paper.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add a pinch of caster sugar.
Add the spinach and sauté until wilted.
Remove from the pan and dry on kitchen paper, allow to cool slightly.
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Place the fish skin side down on the paper and top with the spinach.
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Place the prawns next. (The second time I made this, we had fresh Dublin Bay Langoustines – far too nice to bake so I  simply fried for a couple of minutes in butter and placed on top of the entire “bake” when ready to serve)

IMG_0005Cover with slices of mozzarella cheese, topped with generous smear of pesto & sweet chilli sauce. Season with salt & pepper.

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(Can be stored in the fridge at this point until 25 minutes before dinner)
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Place in the over for 20 – 25 minutes until golden.
Whilst fish is in the over, make the Orzo. So so simple, about 75g of Orzo per person, boiled for 8 minutes, drained and then pour in about 50mls per person of cream, simmer until less liquidey, add grated lemon rind and thin strips of smoked salmon. (I didn’t have Saffron, it would add to a really special meal but it was delicious without too)
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Serve the Cod on a large spoon of Orzo & Salmon.
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IMG_0023Drizzle a tablespoon of pesto around the plate and serve.
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