Some New Task of the Recipe:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Pull apart the sections of the half fennel bulb and slice them very thin. This is a quick pickle, so the thinner they are the better.
Finely dice the half shallot.
Pour both vinegars into a small saucepan and add the shallot.
Simmer the vinegar for a few minutes until the shallot is cooked through.
Pour the hot shallot and vinegar mixture over the sliced fennel in a small bowl. Cover the bowl and move the salad to the fridge to marinate while you work on other parts of the dish. When the fennel is tender, but with a small crunch, remove the salad from the fridge and add the olive oil. Lightly toss.
Slice the other half of the fennel bulb and the half onion and sauté them with oil in a pot until translucent.
Add the dried shitake mushrooms and enough water to cover.
Simmer the broth until the shitakes have reconstituted and the liquid has become dark and fragrant.
Taste for flavor and season with salt & pepper. When the strength of the broth is to your liking, strain out all the vegetables and mushrooms and discard them, reserving the broth.
Pour a small amount of high-smoke point oil into a frying or sauté pan with an oven-safe handle, and get the pan very hot.
Salt each cod steak liberally and carefully place it skin side down in the hot oil. Be careful to lay the fish in the pan starting with the edge facing you, so that any splashing hot oil caused by the rest of the fish hitting the pan will travel away from you.
Once the skin has crisped, move the entire pan to your oven, and bake it at 400 degrees.
While the pan is in the oven, reheat the shitake broth.
Once the cod has become opaque, remove the pan from the oven. Lay the cod steak skin-side up in a bowl and pour in enough of the hot broth in to surround it without touching the skin.
Top the cod with the pickled fennel salad and a pinch of dill pollen. Serve immediately.
Don’t forget how hot that pan handle is! Consider leaving a towel laid across the handle as a visual warning in case someone decides to move the pan while you’re out of the kitchen.