Baked Cod

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How to break the code on cod? My husband has an absolute love for this fish. I, however, teeter on a more love hate relationship. Maybe it’s because for a long time this was his fish of choice, making it often and in the same way. Once or twice he cooked it encased in salt. Which was pretty good, but gosh darn, a mountainous waste of salt. And I mean a colossal waste. Given my ambivalence for this solid white fish, it came as a bit of a surprise when at the fish store I up and purchased cod. When I tell you I have a love hate relationship, it leans less on the love side, so I was seriously concerned about my decision making skills. Yet, as I wandered the store second guessing myself, my reasoning came into full view as I foraged through the vegetable section selecting only the best. That was it. The fact is that when I shop, I shop for the freshest items. Period, end of story. I don’t shop thinking I have to buy this or that. Since nothing seemed as fresh as the cod fish, it was a forgone conclusion that would be my choice. The first part of the cod decoding done.

As I got misted from the produce sprinklers reaching into the vegetable section, I tossed into my basket; carrots, Chinese cabbage, turnips and a variety of mushrooms.

Back home and determined to continue decoding the cod situation, I dreamed up with my own invention. Lucky for me my sister was around so I would have an ally in my cod corner. And JC’s cod the same way would take a rest for the day. Here’s how it went down.

Also, for some of my readers who might feel that my recipes seem easy to only me, I would like use this recipe as an example of an easy one pot meal. It’s chop, sauté, season and bake in the oven simple. I would love to hear your feedback, so comment away!!

The fresh line up; garlic, carrots, celery, Chinese cabbage.

The fresh line up; garlic, carrots, celery, Chinese cabbage.

Ingredients

1.5 lbs. Cod Fish
1 large turnip, sliced (approx. 1 c)
4.5 c Chinese or Nappa Cabbage, chopped
1.5 c carrots, sliced
2.5 c celery, sliced
3 garlic cloves. sliced
1 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1//2 t turmeric (for the cod)
pinch of cumin (for the cod)
Magic 3 - olive oil, salt, pepper

Chop it all up. I decided to go long diagonals keeping everything looking the same and cooking the same.

Chop it all up. I decided to go long diagonals keeping everything looking the same and cooking the same.

Instructions

1.In a large sauté pan, add oil, carrots, celery, garlic and season with salt and pepper.

First cook down the heartier vegetables just until they are soft.

First cook down the heartier vegetables just until they are soft.

2. Sauté the vegetables until softened, then add cabbage. Cook until wilted.

3. Season the cod fillets with turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper.

Make sure that the fish is dry before you season.

Make sure that the fish is dry before you season.

4. Then make a spot in the pan by moving the vegetables to create a hole to place the fish. Add a drop of oil to ensure the fish does not stick.

Make a nice resting spot for the fish to reside while they cook in the oven.

Make a nice resting spot for the fish to reside while they cook in the oven.

5. Cook on the stove top for a few minutes then place in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. The fish should be soft and fall apart when pressed with a finger.

Delicate, mild and flaky, this lightly spiced fish melts into the softened vegetables perfectly.

Delicate, mild and flaky, this lightly spiced fish melts into the softened vegetables perfectly.

A one pot full of flavors that subtly meld together.

A one pot full of flavors that subtly meld together.

I served this dish with a mixture of mushrooms and black rice sautéd with scallions and onions. Cod - decoded and done to perfection. Jill loved this dish and has mentioned wanting to “relive” it again soon. I guess it was a success.

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A Belly Full of Pork

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What happens when your Cuban-Spanish hubby abides by your vegetable eating habits day after day?

A darn gone crazy hankering for animal meat is what happens.  That's how he woke up this past Sunday morning.  With meat on the brain and a little piggy whispering in his ear.  Immediate attention needed to be paid. So no time was wasted.  We hopped into the car with a serious plan to calm the urge.  Luckily for us one of the best places 'round these parts to buy good meat is literally down the street at our local Italian market. We love their fresh, top quality products, but truly despise the lines and long wait. Efficiency is not their strong suit. Quality is, so we wait.

With carrots, celery, tomatoes and the all important pork chops in hand, we headed home.  JuanCarlos' plan was to make a pot full of pork goodness to fill his belly aching.  The ingredients might be familiar as this dish employs the same basic premise as Osso Bucco, or stew or any slow cooked one pot meal. The art of cooking it a long time allows all the flavors to melt down into magic.  It is an easy, cut 'em up, cook 'em, one pot wonder. 

In true team sport form, JC and I took turns prepping the dish and taking the pictures. So enjoy both our hands in the shots.  It was a fun way to start our Sunday together.  This recipe makes enough for 6-8, so super good fortune that my sister was coming for a few days.  Tasty pork chops for lunch and dinner.

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Ingredients  

2 racks of pork chops
2 large onions, cut in thirds
3-4 carrots, large dice
3-4 celery stalks, thick slices
5-7 Campari tomatoes, cut in half
3 garlic, smashed and chopped
1 c fresh parsley, rough chop
1 c San Marzano whole tomatoes
8 oz water
3/4 bottle wine (Red and/or White)
1/4 c fresh sage, rough chop
Magic 3 (olive oil, salt, pepper)

 

Instructions

Prep all your ingredients. Add oil to the large dutch oven or heavy duty pot and toss all the vegetables in (onions, carrots, celery, garlic, fresh tomatoes).  Sauté all them for 5-7 minutes. 

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Season the pork with salt and pepper and sage.

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Once the vegetables have softened slightly, add the canned tomatoes, wine and water then nestle the pork in this flavor filled bath. Add the chopped parsley. Raise the heat and let it come to a boil.  Once at a full boil, cover with the lid remove from the stove top and place in a 325 degree oven for 2 - 2.5 hours. 

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The vegetables will get soft and almost dissolve to become part of the rich and sweet tasting sauce.

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The pork will be fork tender. You can serve it family style in a large platter floating among all the vegetables and juices.

Or plate it up with a side of greens such as broccoli rabe, or broccolini. 

For a starch, go ahead and make some pappardelle or mashed potatoes.  This is a hearty, rich dish and it deserves to be adorned properly.

I sound like a broken record but this is an ideal dish to make for a dinner party as it feeds a hungry group. Can be made ahead and will be loved by all. And if you need an alternative to lamb for Easter meal, maybe give this a go. It will resolve any need for a belly full of pork.