cod

Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Raisins and Pine Nuts

Although I love to cook and don't mind fussing, chopping, washing veggies and so on, sometimes I get lazy or tired and prefer to take the easy way out. I don't mean order-in (although I do understand that). I mean, make food that's easy.

In fact, I find that I like quick-and-easy more and more often.

Like this roasted cod dish. I had been looking at loads of recipes that include tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts with fish. Most of the recipes involve searing and/or roasting the fish and making the sauce separately. But I didn't feel up to doing all that. And I certainly didn't want an extra pan to clean.

So I put all the ingredients together in a roasting pan and placed the fish on top, thinking the sauce would become sauce all by itself, moistened by the natural juices leeching from the fish.

And voila! I was right. There it was. Crispy topped fish and lovely, savory sauce. So good. So easy. Cleanup almost free.

I scattered some bread crumbs on top to give it a lightly crispy surface. (During Passover you could use matzo meal.)

Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Raisins and Pine Nuts

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2-3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh cod
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (or matzo meal)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts and garlic in a roasting pan and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Place the fish on top of the tomato mixture. Brush the fish with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter the bread crumbs over the top. Roast for 18-20 minutes or until top is lightly crispy and the fish is cooked through.

Makes 4 servings

Miso Glazed Fish, a Different Way

Are you afraid to tinker with recipes? 

Here's the deal folks. Very few recipes need to be exact. For the most part, if you stay within reasonable boundaries (e.g. -- you wouldn't mix ketchup into your chocolate ice cream mix) most of them are fairly flexible. 

So, if you don't have an ingredient it's okay if you use another. This is how new recipes are created. A change here and there and what do you know! Something tasty to eat.

That's why I wasn't concerned the other day when I was planning to make Miso-glazed black cod but there was no black cod to be found in any store near me. I could have used salmon, a familiar substitute for miso-glazing, but I wasn't in the mood. On the other hand, I did see some fresh, good looking codfish for sale, so I chose that. 

When I got home and began preparing the glaze I couldn't find the Sake. And I wasn't about to go out again and buy another bottle.

So I used vodka instead.

And I decided to use honey instead of sugar because I knew that for flavor, one sweetener would do as well as another one and a fish glaze isn't like a cake where the liquid of the honey vs. the granules of cane sugar would affect the outcome.

And I also added a small amount of hot chili oil because sweet-ish dishes like this one seem more balanced if you give them the tiniest bit of heat.

One other thing -- many recipes for miso-glazed fish tell you to discard the excess marinade before you cook the fish. I didn't. So there was extra "gravy" in the broiling pan. Nice with rice. 

Okay, several major changes.

It was lusciously wonderful. Every flake and morsel was gone, gone, gone, and I had cooked 2 pounds worth instead of the usual 24 ounces. 

Here's the recipe. Feel free to tinker with it.

Sweet and Hot Miso Glazed Fish

  • 1/4 cup Mirin
  • 2 tablespoons vodka (or use Sake)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup white Miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • 4 6-8 ounce black cod, Arctic char, salmon or cod filets
  • 3 scallions, chopped, optional

Place the Mirin, vodka, honey, Miso, sesame seed oil and hot chili oil in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring continuously, for about one minute, stirring with a whisk, or until the ingredients are thoroughly blended and the Miso is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Place the fish in a shallow pan and pour the marinade over them. Turn the filets to coat all sides. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-24 hours. Preheat the oven broiler about 6 inches from the heat. Place the fish in a broiling pan and broil for 3 minutes, turn the filets and broil for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with chopped scallions if desired.

Makes 4 servings

 

 

 

How to Make Fish More Appealing

My Mom, good cook though she was, was not an ace at making fish. Her broiled salmon was delicious, but beyond that, well, .... let's just say she didn't love fish, didn't want to experiment with it and so we didn't have a lot of fresh fish for dinner.

Same for my grandmother, except for once a summer when my father, uncles and assorted other men would go for their once a year fishing trip and come back with either mackerel or bluefish.

Now, everyone knows that if you come from a family that doesn't particularly love fish, mackerel and bluefish are not the ones you would pick for the once-in-a-while fish dinner. But that's what the men caught during the summer (when we would always be at my grandmother's place).

My grandma did her best with what -- and who -- she had to work with. I was -- and remain -- a devout fish lover, along with my cousin Leslie, but we were the only ones. 

For everyone else, grandma had to be creative.  Even as a child I realized that what she did to make the fish more palatable was to smother it with other ingredients that would not only distract from the strong flavor of those oily fish, but also make the dish more attractive so that we would all want to eat the dish placed in front of us.

It worked every summer. Everyone regarded that fish dinner as a winner.

You can make this recipe for the darker, oilier fish such as mackerel and bluefish, but it's also wonderful with plain old mild cod, which most people prefer.

Roasted Cod

  • 4 6-8 ounce chunks of fresh cod
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 12 pitted olives (green or black), cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the fish in a lightly oiled casserole dish. Pour the vegetable oil over the fish chunks and rub to spread the oil on the top surface of each chunk. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter the garlic and shallot on top. Scatter the plum tomatoes and olives on top, then sprinkle with parsley and dill. Finally, scatter the matzo meal or bread crumbs on top. Roast for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, or until the fish is cooked through.

Makes 4 servings

Seared Cod with Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, Capers and Raisins

I’ve been cooking a lot of  cauliflower dishes  recently. The heads in my local stores have been so firm and fresh looking that I keep buying them and then of course have to cook and eat them while they are still so perfect.  
  This Seared Cod and Cauliflower dish was our dinner recently. A sort of all-in-one-pan meal. So easy!  
  The   creamy   color was a lovely monochromatic sort of thing, but I added fresh parsley to give it a highlight of green.  
  Cod can be mild and tasteless. Cauliflower can be robust — I didn’t want it to overwhelm the fish. The toasty-tasting pine nuts (pignolis) and sweet raisins gave the dish a good balance and mix of flavors.   
     
  Seared Cod with Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, Capers and Raisins  
     
  1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets  
    2 tablespoons olive oil  
   1-1/2 to 2 pounds cod, cut into 4 pieces   
    salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  
   2 tablespoons unsalted butter   
  1/4 cup pine nuts   
    2 tablespoons drained small capers  
    2 tablespoons golden raisins  
   2 tablespoons white wine vinegar  
  1 tablespoon chopped parsley  
  Cook the cauliflower in simmering water over high heat for about 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside.     Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold the cod pieces and vegetables. Add the fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn the fish over. Add the butter and let it melt. After it has melted, place the cauliflower, pine nuts, capers and raisins in the pan and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the nuts are toasted, the fish is golden brown on the second side and the cauliflower has crisped. Pour the wine vinegar over the fish. Spoon equal amounts of fish, cauliflower and the other ingredients onto dinner plates, sprinkle with parsley and serve. Makes 4 servings  

   

I’ve been cooking a lot of cauliflower dishes recently. The heads in my local stores have been so firm and fresh looking that I keep buying them and then of course have to cook and eat them while they are still so perfect. 

This Seared Cod and Cauliflower dish was our dinner recently. A sort of all-in-one-pan meal. So easy!

The creamy color was a lovely monochromatic sort of thing, but I added fresh parsley to give it a highlight of green.

Cod can be mild and tasteless. Cauliflower can be robust — I didn’t want it to overwhelm the fish. The toasty-tasting pine nuts (pignolis) and sweet raisins gave the dish a good balance and mix of flavors. 

 

Seared Cod with Cauliflower, Pine Nuts, Capers and Raisins

 

1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/2 to 2 pounds cod, cut into 4 pieces 

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1/4 cup pine nuts 

2 tablespoons drained small capers

2 tablespoons golden raisins

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Cook the cauliflower in simmering water over high heat for about 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold the cod pieces and vegetables. Add the fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn the fish over. Add the butter and let it melt. After it has melted, place the cauliflower, pine nuts, capers and raisins in the pan and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the nuts are toasted, the fish is golden brown on the second side and the cauliflower has crisped. Pour the wine vinegar over the fish. Spoon equal amounts of fish, cauliflower and the other ingredients onto dinner plates, sprinkle with parsley and serve. Makes 4 servings