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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cod with Tomato Sauce - a Gutsy Cooks choice

If you've read any of these prior Weekend Viands posts, you'll know that both Jim and I have developed a sort of "bleh" attitude toward the cookbook we're using, although we both loved the mushroom tarts. But I'm not about to give up so easily, and when we were assigned a Spanish Tortilla and Cod with Tomato Sauce, I knew that was too much food for one meal, so I stretched it out to two. So glad I did--the tomato sauce for the fish was delicious, and both the sauce and the saute-roast method of cooking are things I'll want to use again.
I started the recipe by sauteeing the rest of the big Spanish onion I had left from the tortilla. I'm so happy when I don't end up throwing out leftover ingredients.
I wanted to more or less cut the recipe in half, but I wanted to make sure I had enough tomato flavor, so I used 3 Roma tomatoes. I know that 3 is not half of 4, but it turned out that 3 was the perfect amount. The tomatoes are to be peeled, seeded, and juiced. Yes, I realize that you can still see seeds. I believe that seeding tomatoes is not a job that demands perfection. I removed a lot of them.

After the tomatoes have cooked down for about 10 minutes, you add fish stock and white wine. The store where I bought the fish didn't have fish stock, and I was too lazy to go hunting around for it. I substituted vegetable stock, and a smidgen of fish sauce. Maybe not orthodox, but it worked. I also added some dried chile pepper flakes, which are suggested for the halibut version but not for the cod. Seems like discriminatory treatment to me, and I used them with the cod. I almost bought halibut, but it was $20 a pound, and the cod was only $9. If I'd known how good the sauce would be, I might have splurged on the halibut.

After the sauce is cooked down for a while, it, and the fish, go into a preheated very hot oven. I didn't want to overcook the fish, so I left the pan in the oven for just 5 minutes.
Do you know how hot the handle of a metal pan is after it's been in a 400-degree oven? Very, very hot. Do you know that it doesn't cool off significantly after being out of the oven for 2 minutes--just long enough for someone who should remain nameless to forget it had been in the oven? Do you know it hurts like hell to grab this very hot handle? Yes, I knew that too, but apparently I forgot.
But after dousing my hand in cold water and applying some burn ointment, I soldiered on. The sauce goes under the cod, which is sprinkled with more parsley. I served it with Israeli couscous and a side green salad. What a great dinner! Thank you, Monica and Jenn, for making me buy this cookbook!

Jim: "I'll give it a 9.5 because the tomato sauce is so delicious. The cod is well cooked, but I'm not sure it stands up to the tomato sauce. It might be even better with shrimp."
Marie: "I think it's a 9. The cod is a little too flaky, and I would have preferred halibut. I don't have a problem with the cod being too bland, because I don't think you'd want a fish with an assertive flavor served with this sauce."


  1. Oh boy this looks good and I think I may make it this weekend when we go up to NC to visit Tom's brother and his wife. The tomatoes look delish on your pictures.. I'm glad you guys like it, I was starting to worry that you were hating the book :)

  2. I'll be honest--it's not my favorite cookbook, but there have been recipes that I really liked, so I'm ready to keep cooking. This was excellent.