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A&E >  Food

Horseradish and matzo-crusted cod is an ideal sheet pan dinner for Passover

Horseradish-crusted cod with carrots, parsnips and mustard-dill drizzle is an ideal dish for Passover.  (Laura Chase de Formigny/For the Washington Post)
Horseradish-crusted cod with carrots, parsnips and mustard-dill drizzle is an ideal dish for Passover. (Laura Chase de Formigny/For the Washington Post)
By Ellie Krieger Special to the Washington Post

Playing that quick-response word game, if I said “foods that go together,” your answer would probably be peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies, not horseradish and seafood.

But the nose-tingling condiment and seafood make a magical duo and are more ubiquitous than you might realize. Horseradish-spiked cocktail sauce is classic with boiled shrimp for a reason, as is the custom of serving sushi with wasabi (a close cousin of horseradish).

And Passover would not be the same without a tear-inducing heap of horseradish on your gefilte fish. The half jar of the condiment I’m inevitably left with after the holiday dinner inspired this sheet pan meal. In it, prepared horseradish is tossed with breadcrumbs (or matzo meal) and a little olive oil, then packed onto fish filets and roasted to create a crispy-golden topping, heady and sharp-tasting, like an exclamation point on the flaky, mild fish.

For an extra layer of flavor, before piling the horseradish topping on the fish, mix together mustard, finely chopped shallots and dill and spread half onto the filets. The other half of that mixture is whisked with olive oil and vinegar to make a sumptuous drizzle for the carrot and parsnip batons, which are roasted on the sheet pan alongside the fish.

The result is a nourishing, flavorful meal that’s an excellent way to use up any leftover horseradish and soup vegetables you might have from Passover. But the topping is so good, and can be used on just about any type of fish and roasted alongside just about any vegetable, it’s worth picking up a jar of the condiment to keep the horseradish-fish combo in regular rotation and at top of mind.

Horseradish-Crusted Cod With Carrots, Parsnips and Mustard-Dill Drizzle

1 pound medium carrots, peeled

8 ounces medium parsnips, peeled

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon minced shallot

½ cup panko or ⅓ cup matzoh meal

1 ½ tablespoons drained prepared horseradish

4 cod filets (about 6 ounces each)

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Water, as needed

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

Cut the carrots and parsnips into roughly 3-inch-long, ½-inch-thick batons. Place them onto a sheet pan, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and toss to combine. Roast for 10 minutes.

While the carrots and parsnips are roasting, in a small bowl, stir together the mustard, dill and shallots. Transfer half of the mustard mixture to another small bowl. In a medium bowl, toss the panko or matzo meal, horseradish and the remaining salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the crumb mixture and use your fingers or a fork to combine well.

Fold any thinner pieces of fish so that all the fillets are about the same thickness. Using one of the small bowls of the mustard mixture, brush the mixture on top of each of the filets. Then top each piece of fish with the breadcrumb-horseradish mixture.

Move the carrots and parsnips to one side of the sheet pan and place the fish filets on the other side. Return the pan to the top rack of the oven and cook 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is no longer translucent and the topping has browned in spots.

To make the drizzle, whisk the remaining oil and the vinegar into the reserved bowl of the mustard-dill mixture. Add 1 teaspoon of water to thin it out, adding more, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed.

Divide the fish and vegetables among plates, drizzle the vegetables with the sauce and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

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