Cod with lettuce minty stew

Summer has had this effect on me that all I want to eat is fish, sea-food, seaweed and so on. I am craving the sea taste. If I could, I would just pour myself a large glass of sea water and drink it (not really, but you get the idea). I wonder if it my body’s way of telling me that I need iodine or my stress levels crying for a relaxing holiday by the sea? Probably a little bit of both I guess… Unfortunately, holidays are off the radar this year and the most I could indulge in is probably a day in Brighton, which – don’t get me wrong – would be amazing (shopping in The Lanes, strolling by the promenade, getting wind and sun burnt on the pier, and of course ending a perfect day with dinner at my favourite fish restaurant EVER Riddle & Finns!).

In the meantime, I can indulge in this fresh, light and summery stew. This version uses bacon, but for a no meat Monday recipe, replace them with thinly chopped anchovies – you can’t actually taste them but just like the bacon they bring a nice saltiness and richness to the dish.

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INGREDIENTS (for 4 people)

  • 750 grams of frozen broad beans (or podded fresh ones)
  • 250 grams of smoked bacon, sliced into lardon-sized strips. No-meat option: 3-5 salted anchovies chopped very thinly.
  • 2 spring onions, chopped roughly
  • 2 baby gem lettuces, washed and chopped in 2 lengthways.
  • 30 grams of butter
  • 1 tbsp of caster sugar
  • A handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 large fillets of cod cut into 4 pieces, boneless but with skin left on.
  • 4-5 new potatoes per person, depending on size

 

METHOD

  • Cook your new potatoes skin-on in a large pan of salted water.
  • Soak your frozen beans in lukewarm water and pod them. If using fresh beans, here’s how to prepare them.
  • Saute your smoked bacon / anchovies in a casserole pan.
  • When the bacon / anchovies starts colouring, add the chopped onions, lettuce leaves, broad beans and sugar.
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add a little bit of water if needed (you don’t want it to stick to the bottom of the pan) and adjust your seasoning before adding the mint.
  • Simmer on very low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • While the stew is simmering, season your cod fillets with salt & pepper and cook skin side down on a frying pan. Keep the heat rather low as you want to cook the fish through slowly and without frying it. It should take about 10-12 minutes. You can also finish it up by placing your pan under the grill for a couple of minutes. I personally prefer to remove the skin for this recipe but I guess this is up to your taste!

Serve the stew in a deep plate with the fillet of cod placed on top and the potatoes on the side. This will be delicious accompanied with homemade mayonnaise, or just a squeeze of lemon juice!

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Miso glazed cod

Recently, I became absolutely obsessed with miso. I can’t remember how it started exactly. I believe I read an article about how good it is for you, then started ordering miso soup at Pret to accompany my lunch at work, then buying miso soup sachets to make my own soup anytime I wanted to… and last week I finally bought a jar of blond miso to add to my cooking. I’m hooked, and should probably now look for an article about the risk of too much miso.

In the meantime, I have had time to try miso glazed cod and oh. my. lord. how good is this?! For those who live in London, Nobu is obviously *the* place to go to have miso glazed black cod (Black Cod Den Miso). It is one of the most expensive dishes on the menu (£42, no less) but I always say that there is almost no point going to Nobu at all if you are not ordering the black cod. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Nobu and there are many many good things on their menu that one should treat oneself to. But the black cod is and remains on top of the list. It is seriously one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life.

Well, good news, I can now make it at home!! For my first try, I cooked with regular white cod fillets (responsibly sourced, please, of course), just in case it didn’t turn out well – I didn’t want to risk waste expensive and rare black cod! It turned out delicious, definitely one of the finest mid-week dinners we had had in a while. Will make it again, and sooner rather than later.

Miso glazed cod and egg fried rice

 

INGREDIENTS – for 4 servings

  • 4 cod fillets (black or regular)
  • 80 ml of low-sodium blond miso
  • 50 grams of dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of  sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of mirin (Japanese cooking wine) I couldn’t find any so used white wine + a splash of rice vinegar.
  • Sesame seeds and spring onions (optional – to taste)

 

METHOD

  • Preheat your oven grill (or broiler)
  • In a bowl, combine the miso, brown sugar, sesame oil and wine. Stir until all of the sugar has fully dissolved and the mix is smooth and of a deep dark colour.
  • Brush about 2 tablespoons of this miso glaze on each fish fillet.
  • Marinate for 30min-1hr.
  • Place the fish fillets under the grill for a few minutes until the glaze has caramelised
  • Out of the oven, brush the fillets with the remaining miso glaze.
  • Return to grill and cook for an additional 10 minutes, so that the fish is flaky but not overcooked.

 

We served this with greens egg fried rice (in a wok: onions, garlic, 5-spice and chili in stir-fry oil. Once softened, add your vegetables to cook rapidly but remain crunchy. Then add cold white rice that you have cooked the day before with soy sauce. At the end, break an egg and mix well so it coats the rice. Adjust seasoning to taste).

This was a very very good surprise. It is very quick (the fish cooks in about 15 minutes max.), very tasty and, I’d say, rather healthy. It is already on this week’s menu!

Fish on the BBQ

I love a BBQ. /// But I refuse to call it a ‘barbie’ like they do over here: it just sounds too weird, like the doll, and who would want to eat a charcoal-grilled plastic symbol of women’s oppression under capitalism and patriarchy? ///

So, I was saying, I love a BBQ and I think it deserves much more versatility than many give it. Now, of course, sausages, chicken skewers, burgers are sure to be a crowd pleaser. But, come on people, surely we can be more creative than that! What about… fish?

Below are a few examples of fish you can easily prepare on the BBQ and that are incredibly tasty!

  • PRAWNS:

BBQ Prawns shell on

Personally, I prefer to keep the shells on when I bbq prawns because it ensures they remain moist and juicy and it also adds a delicious sweet taste to their flesh. But I know that some people get a bit weird about having to peel seafood at the table so it’s up to you.

Prawn and sweet chili skewers

Another option is therefore to buy raw peeled prawns. Above, we have put them on skewers and marinated them in sweet chilli sauce and coriander. It’s scrumptious. However, since the prawns are not in its shell, you have to be very careful not to leave them too long on the barbecue or they’ll go hard and chewy.

 

  • FISH EN PAPILLOTE

That’s a fancy French word to say “in a parcel” (of tin foil). It does the trick though as it sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of preps when, really, you have marinated fish, wrapped in in foil, and thrown in on the BBQ for 5 minutes.

Cod en papillote

Above, we have put our cod fillets on a large piece of tin foil, before covering with lemon zest, olive oil, salt & pepper, dill and lemon wedges. Close the foil tightly (so the steam cannot escape during cooking) and leave in the fridge for an hour at least before cooking. It cooks really quickly on the BBQ, 3 to 5 minutes. Leave in the parcel until serving so it remains warm and soaked in its juices.

Salmon en papillote

I think the salmon en papillote was the star of our Sunday BBQ. It is marinated in soy sauce, salt & pepper, orange zest and orange wedges. Again, be sure to close the parcel very tightly and cook for 5 minutes. Leave in the tin foil until serving.

These are just a few ideas of how you can make your summer Sunday gatherings a little bit more special than the usual sausage & burger BBQ. The feedback was great, and the effort minimal, so it’s really worth a try!