Cod with Tomatoes, Peppers and Black Olives

When I first wrote this recipe I was incredibly broke and to afford cod, which I’ve always loved, meant buying frozen. This time, my recipe uses fresh cod and I’m roasting it in the oven. One of my tips for the original recipe (pg 46 One Pot Cooking) was dusting the fish with salt and leaving for at least 10 minutes to draw out excess liquid, firm the fish and season it. Even so, once the salt is washed away, the fish needs a rinse and pat dry. The sauce or dressing could be made while the fish cooks, it’s fresh and lively; red onion (which softens faster than brown-skin), red pepper and tomato cooked with garlic in olive oil just long enough to melt the onion and soften the pepper. Pitted black olives and a little flat leaf parsley off set the colours and flavours. This is a useful little dish that is easy to scale up or down and goes with most things, from chips to steamed kale. I served it over quickly steamed spinach.

Serves 2

Prep: 15 min
Cook: 20 min

1 large red onion1 garlic clove
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small red pepper
350g tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
8 pitted black olives
2 thick fillets of cod
handful of flat leaf parsley

Turn the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Dust each piece of cod with ½ tsp salt. Peel, halve and finely chop the onion. Peel and slice the garlic in super-thin rounds. Heat 2 tbsp of given oil in a frying pan and when very hot, stir in the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for at least 5 minutes adjusting the heat so the onions soften without crisping, continuing to stir occasionally while you slice the red pepper into ribbons and then into short strips having discarded seeds and white filament. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes placed in a bowl/pan. Count to 30, drain, cut out the core in a pointed plug shape and remove the skin. By now the onions will be semi-done, so stir the peppers into the pan and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes until half cooked. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and stir them into the onions. Season generously with salt and pepper, stir in the tomato puree and cook for 5 minutes. Tear the olives into two or three pieces and stir them in too, cooking for a further couple of minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Coarsely chop the parsley and stir into the sauce. To cook the fish, rinse the fillets under the cold tap to remove the salt and pat dry with kitchen paper. Smear with oil and place, skin-side down, in a small, shallow roasting tin. Add a squeeze of lemon. Roast for 10 minutes and rest for 2-3 minutes. Deftly turn onto warmed plates, so the skin is uppermost and ease it off the fish. Spoon the (hot) sauce over the fish and serve. Yum.