I declare myself a fish lover, and one of my favorite fish to eat and to cook with is cod. Here’s why:
- It’s so tasty on its own and has a truly distinctive flavor.
- The texture of cod is firm and tender at the same time, and it flakes beautifully when cooked properly.
- It’s versatile and the cooking possibilities are countless–from the classic cod with tomato sauce and black olives, to cod with scrambled eggs, or a chickpea stew with cod fish.
Spaniards love to eat cod fish at Christmas time, and that’s the fourth reason that I love cod so much–it reminds me of my childhood.
I belong to a traditional Southern Spanish family. That means that one of our favorite ways to spend our time is to cook and eat together. This is typically an all-day affair that begins in the morning (with prep work) and ends in the late afternoon or early evening, after sitting together and feasting on a mid-day meal that will last at least three hours.
On my mother’s side of the family, we have a traditional dish that we prepare together at the beginning of every year in celebration of the 6th of January, or Three Kings Day.
This dish was “bacalao al pil-pil,” which translates to cod cooked slowly in extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). The cooking process required a clay pot and took about four hours from start to finish.
To honor those days, I have updated our traditional family recipe to feature a less complex cooking process that takes only a fraction of the time to prepare.
If you are a beginner cook and a fish lover too, this is a perfect dish for you: a delicate, luscious, flavorful easy fish recipe.
- To cook the cod:
- 200 g of cod fish per person
- 1 cup of EVOO (or enough to fully cover the cod fillets)
- To cook the mashed potatoes:
- 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and boiled
- 3/4 cup of whole milk
- 1/4 cup of smoked EVOO ( I always use the brand Castillo de Canena)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- sea salt (to taste)
- To garnish on top:
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 – 10 dried cayenne peppers
- 1/4 cup EVOO to fry the garlic
- Microwave-safe bowl.
- Saran wrap.
- 1 frying pan.
- 1 large saucepan.
- A microwave.
For the cod:
- Place the cod fillets into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Fill the bowl with EVOO until the fish is mostly covered.
- Cover the bowl with saran wrap and cook in the microwave for 3 – 4 minutes (800 w).
- Drain the oil and serve the fish.
For the smoked mashed potato:
- Peel, chop and boil the potatoes.
- Mash the boiled potatoes with 3/4 cup of whole milk and 1/4 cup of smoked EVOO.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the garnish:
- Peel and thinly slice four cloves of garlic.
- Add the EVOO into a frying pan and heat it to medium heat.
- Fry the garlic until it turns to a nice golden color.
- Add the cayenne peppers at the very end and give them a very quick fry with the garlic.
- Drain the garlic and the cayenne pepper from the oil.
Put a layer of smoked mashed potatoes and set the cod on top.
Garnish with the fried garlic and cayenne peppers.
Optional: emulsify the oil from cooking the cod and drizzle it on top of everything.