I like to eat fish once or twice a week. Most often it’s salmon (organic farmed; wild when in season if I find it). Sometimes sea bream or sea bass; prawns to go into a fiery tomato sauce with pasta. I hadn’t particularly planned on cooking fish when I was wandering round Whole Foods in Richmond but when I spied some excellent-looking cod on the fish shelves, I decided to buy it. I usually go to my local fishmonger Sandys for fish but Whole Foods has become a regular shopping haunt in these lockdown times; a sense of near normality as I slowly make my way round finding gloriously enticing foods and a wonderful selection of foodie treats.
I felt in need of a foodie treat. We have to gather our daily highlights where we may at the moment. So what could I do with my cod that I hadn’t done before? How could I cook it to lift my spirits as England entered yet another lockdown? I searched my books … Rick Stein … Giorgio Locatelli … but it was Gino D’Acampo who came to my rescue with this: a wonderful sunny, colourful and delicious supper dish.
It’s really quick to make. The only crucial timing is boiling the new potatoes first – or in advance as I did. I’d arranged to talk to my lovely friend Linda who lives in Spain around 5pm and we talk for an hour or more … so I had the potatoes prepared and everything ready to go once we’d finished talking.
I wouldn’t normally recommend a dish that needs last-minute cooking for entertaining but really, with everything prepared in advance, this is so easy and quick I’d risk it for up to about 4-6 maybe. But the following is for one:
Cod with Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives & Capers
- about 100g new potatoes
- 15g butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 heaped teaspoon capers
- 30g pitted green olives
- a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 portion of cod fillet (about 120g)
- about 30ml white wine
- 75g cherry tomatoes, halved
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the new potatoes in boiling water until just tender. Cut in half or even quarters if large.
Heat the butter, oil, capers, olives and thyme in a large frying pan over a high heat.
When the butter sizzles carefully lay the cod skin-side down (although mine was already skinned) in the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and fry gently until golden on the bottom.
Depending on the thickness of the fish, you may see the edges starting to colour and be cooked; otherwise lift very gently with a spatula. Turn carefully and fry for another couple of minutes to brown the top.
When the fish is cooked through, carefully transfer to a warm serving plate and cover loosely with foil to keep it warm.
Pour the wine into the pan with the olives and capers. Let it bubble for a minute or so, scraping the bottom to incorporate any caramelised bits. Add the potatoes and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes or until you see the tomatoes start to collapse a bit and the potatoes caramelise on the edges.
Spoon the potato mixture round the fish and drizzle over any juices. Serve immediately.
Gosh it was good! It was so tasty; so delicious. It felt very special for a midweek supper and was definitely the foodie treat I needed! Coupled with a chilled glass of white wine.