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RBR Tailgating: Cod with Sage and Prosciutto

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This next stretch of games has me worried. We are playing some real degenerates.

“Wooooooooo (this should apparently last six seconds), pig! Sooie!

Wooooooooo (tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic), pig! Sooie!

Wooooooooo (tedium), pig! Sooie!

Razorbacks!”

That is the cheer of the University of Arkansas, this week’s opponent. What the hell is going on here? What does that even mean?

It looks like the fans are encouraging… who? The players? Themselves? To, well…

I know what “woo” means. “Come woo me, woo me, for I am in a holiday humour and like enough to consent.” I’ve read As You Like It.

I like pork as much as the next guy. Pork chops, bacon, loin, any manner of cured bits or spicy sausages, the whole hog. But I don’t go whole hog. That’s taking things a bit too far.

A lot has been made about the stretch of our schedule that starts Saturday. We have three quality opponents. The talking heads have and will continue to harp on the rigors of an SEC season and how three games in a row against teams capable and in the running to claim an Atlanta birth might be too much for any team, even our beloved Tide. They have and will point out how each of these teams presents a different set of challenges for the Alabama coaching staff. They have and will talk of the need for depth while wringing their hands, Erik-like, over the lack of experience behind our starting defensive backs.

What you will not hear from the talking heads is how all three of our remaining pre-bye opponents have elevated degeneracy of one degree or another to communal catharsis with their bizarre in-stadium antics.

Texas A&M’s “Yell Leader” encourage fans with a variety of signals. Once the crowd has recognized the signal and stands ready to respond, the yell leader sets off the action with the command sign known as “Hump It.” There are apparently a whole caste system of cheers and hand motions. The Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Senior each have their own proprietary chants or dances or whatever. A student caught doing the mime/song of another class is accused of “pulling out” and punished for his temerity. The Aggies are the least degenerate among the three.

The Viles celebrate their inebriated twang with that stupid song about how awful their state is. Lost behind the brags about barren worthless dirt and murdering strangers is a wistful pine for better days when the author of the ditty flirted with bestiality in the person(?) of his anthropomorphic half-bear, half-cat girlfriend. He still dreams about that.

Then comes this week’s opposing fan base. They don’t even bother with the anthropomorphizing. They dive right in and proclaim their amorous porcine proclivities and then beckon the poor animal to come hither unto them. “Let’s give us a chance, sexy bacon! Come on down!”

So for all of you hoping that I would do a pork-centric dish for our game against the hogs, sorry. They kind of sullied me on the idea with that sick cheer of theirs. I say kind of, because there is some pork in this week’s dish but it’s there as a compliment rather than the featured ingredient.

Maybe I’ll be able to look past the cheer next year and do some kind of pulled pork when the Razorback’s come to Tuscaloosa next year but until then, this is a damn tasty bit of fish.

Cod with Sage and Prosciutto

8 Pieces of Cod, 4oz. each

4 Slices Prosciutto

8 Large Fresh Sage Leaves, or a combination of small and large leaves that yields the same

1 Cup Dry White Wine

3 tbsps. Unsalted Butter

Juice of 1 Lemon

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

All Purpose Flour for Dusting (optional)

This is a pretty traditional Italian dish. I’ve read about it done with all manner of white fish. I chose cod because it looked the best in the store counter window and it turned out great. Sea bass is the fish I’ve most often seen served this way but feel free to substitute.

When you have your fish cut into four ounce pieces, pat them dry and then salt and pepper them on both sides.

Cut the four slices of prosciutto into eight halves. Fold each half and place one on top of each of the fish pieces. Top with a sage leaf and secure by threading with a toothpick.

At this point, if you would like to dust them with a little all purpose flour, go ahead. I do this with a lot of fish, but I generally don’t with cod. If you do dust the fish, do it lightly as possible.

The pieces will not be uniform and the likelihood is that you don’t have a giant skillet capable of holding all eight, so batch them out in groups with the fattest four and the thinnest four together so all pieces in the pan at the same time will take around the same time to cook.

Add a few glugs of the olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat. When the oil starts to give off the slightest smoke lay the fish in the pan, prosciutto side down and cook for two to three minutes - until they are opaque a little more than half way up the sides. Turn the fish over and cook for the same amount of time as the first side. Check a piece from the bottom (non prosciutto/sage side) by spreading the flakes apart with a knife to be sure that they properly cooked through and set aside.

Turn the heat up to high and pour the wine and lemon juice to the skillet. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan and stir. When the wine starts to boil, turn down to medium and introduce the butter, a little at a time and whisk until relatively smooth - this isn’t meant to be a creamy sauce so fairly thin is fine. Salt to taste.

Turn off the heat and pour a tablespoon of sauce over each piece of fish.

In the picture above the fish is presented as an entrée but it doesn’t have to be. It just looks like dinner because I had it for dinner. So many home football viewing gatherings are potluck or buffet style and everybody wants to try a bit of everything. These four ounce pieces are only four or five bites a per. They should fit right in.

So here’s to tomorrow. No injuries, Roll Tide, and when watching the game and the crowd can be heard in the background yelling “Wooooooooo, pig! Sooie!”, don’t bother holding back your disgust.