Here, spring morels partner with smoky bacon and caramelized leeks to create a sophisticated baked fish dish. A touch of Champagne vinegar adds punch, and a few snips of fresh chives lend color.
Baked Cod with Leeks, Morels and Bacon
3/4 oz. dried morel mushrooms
1/2 cup boiling water
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 bacon slices
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green portions
1/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1 tsp. Champagne vinegar
4 cod fillets, each about 6 oz.
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. minced fresh chives
Preheat an oven to 375°F.
In a small heatproof bowl, soak the mushrooms in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Squeeze the mushrooms dry and roughly chop the larger ones into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
In a large ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter. Add the bacon and fry until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 3 Tbs. of the fat from the pan. Add the leeks and the 1/4 tsp. salt, stir until evenly coated with the fat and cook, stirring often, until tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Crumble the bacon and add half to the leeks along with the reserved mushrooms and the vinegar. Toss to combine well and spread the leek mixture over the bottom of the pan.
Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper and lay them on top of the leeks. Dot with the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Bake until the fish flakes with a fork, about 12 minutes. Garnish with the remaining bacon and the chives and serve immediately. Serves 4.