Olive Oil seared Cod, capers, basil, mussels and tomatoes

Atlantic Cod.  One of the kings of fishes.  How many species of cods are out there??  Pacific black cod, Atlantic black cod, blue cod, true cod, ling cod, potato cod, sleepy, cod and so on. All delicious.

 Closely related to haddock and pollock, cod is a white flesh fish, firm but will flake if cooked too long, has a big enough loin to stand up to multiple cooking techniques, and has a mild, sweet and delicate flavor.

Olive oil and cod go hand in hand, and why not embrace those south-of-France flavors everyone loves?  Basil, capers, shellfish, tomatoes, olives, lemon, white wine… delicate yet right in your face flavor that’s really exceptional.  Start with an appetizer of grilled Monterey Bay artichokes (previous post) and move right into this.  Demi-sec sauvignon blanc or riesing… even an oaky chard will work…

This is a also a very healthy low carb meal.  Feel free to add any starch you want; something like goat cheese white polenta will work well, but I am going to give it to you in its purest, simplest, and in my opinion, best form.

Sauteed cod with olive oil, tomatoes, olives, capers,mussels and basil

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Yield: 4 portions

Ingredients:

2 lb Atlantic cod, skin removed, very dry
2 tbsp drained capers
1 bunch basil, fine chiffonade
1 ripe tomato, med dice, seeds and skin removed
1/2 lb black PEI mussels, scrubbed
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
1 cup rocket arugula
flour
good quality olive oil
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
prepared tapenade (see previous post)
kosher salt
cracked black pepper

Method:

Heat an oven to 400 degrees.  Season the cod with salt and pepper.  Dust it, all sides with flour, and tap the cod gently to remove any excess.  In an oven safe heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the oil olive to almost smoking.  Gently slide the cod in the pan.  When bottom is lightly browned, flip, add butter and put the whole pan in the oven.  Roast for about 10 minutes.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven, take the fish out of the pan and let rest. It should be almost flaky and golden brown. .  Drain the pan (remember the pan is HOT).  Put the pan back over high heat, add a little more olive oil and begin sauteing the mussels.  Add the shallot, garlic and white wine and reduce by 1/2.  Add everything else except the basil and cook until highly fragrant, most of the liquid is gone and the vegetables are tender.  Mix in the basil at the very end and season with salt and pepper.

Mound the vegetables in a shallow serving bowl, place the fish on top, golden brown side up,and garnish with tapenade.  Serve right away.

Enjoy.

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