The Bounty of the Sea

Photo by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Photo by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris.

It is common to visualize the Thanksgiving feast as a beautifully set table with a large, golden-brown roasted turkey at the center, surrounded by fall vegetables and cornbread. Perhaps it would be more accurate, though, to feature a platter of fish. The Wampanoag tribe, who celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims in Plymouth in 1621, depended on the Atlantic Ocean for much of their sustenance. The Native Americans foraged for mushrooms, berries, wild herbs and nuts to supplement their diet, and they shared this bounty with the Pilgrims.

One of the most plentiful species of fish found in the Atlantic Ocean was cod. The recipe below is inspired by ingredients that would have been easily available to the Native Americans and Pilgrims.

Baked Cod with Leeks and Wild Mushrooms

  • 4 cod fillets, or one per person
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1/2 lb. fresh wild mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh chives
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in heavy pan.
  3. Add leeks, and sauté for 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in wild mushrooms.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour leeks and mushroom mix into large ovenproof casserole dish.
  7. Place cod over leeks and mushrooms.
  8. Sprinkle with minced garlic.
  9. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  10. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  11. Place in oven.
  12. Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 15 minutes.
  13. Garnish with minced chives.

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