When we were grocery shopping this week, our fish counter was displaying some wild cod and it looked so good – really white and chunky. I couldn’t resist buying some and I cooked it making a provençal dish. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
It is not often we see wild fish to buy here in Canada, the main one we do see being wild pacific salmon, but I buy it when I can because there is certainly a difference. Once I found out how farmed fish was produced, with all its potential toxins, it made me realise just how much we have forgone quality for quantity. But that’s another story.
Anyway, we enjoyed our fish supper and hope you will want to try it too.
A nutritious fish dish that is full of flavour. The chunky piece of cod is baked with sliced peppers, plum tomatoes and garlic in a tomato, herb and wine sauce.
2 x 400g tins Italian plum tomatoes (1 x 28 fl oz can)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano or 3 sprigs of fresh (leaves only)
salt and freshly milled black pepper
28 g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick) plus extra for greasing
You will also need a large sauté pan and an ovenproof dish that is large enough to take the fish in a single layer.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Heat the oil in the pan and add the peppers. Over a medium heat, sauté for 3–4 minutes, to soften, tossing occasionally.
Then drain the tomatoes and reserve the juice. Add the tomatoes to the pan along with the garlic, wine, lemon juice, and oregano. Season. Stir in 3 tablespoons of reserved tomato juice and then simmer for a further 3–4 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease the ovenproof dish. Cut the fish into 4 portions and place in the dish. Season.
Now pour the vegetables over the fish and dot with the butter.
Bake towards the top of the oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Baste half way through cooking.
Finely chop two thirds of the basil and mint and 2 lemon thyme sprigs, reserve the remaining third. Using a pestle and mortar, pound together the herbs, crushed garlic, and two tablespoons of the olive oil until a paste is formed. Or use a food processor. Put the chicken in a shallow dish and spread the herb mixture over the top of the chicken. Cover, refrigerate and leave for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Put the peppers, courgettes/zucchini, and potatoes in a bowl. Season and pour over the remaining olive oil. Toss together until the vegetables are well coated. Then add the tomatoes.
Lay the chicken pieces in the centre of the roasting tin/pan in a singe layer and then spread the vegetables around the outside.
Roast for 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
To serve, squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter over the reserved herbs.
Tinned/canned plum tomatoes can be substituted for the fresh plum tomatoes, just add them to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
The meatballs, vegetables and sauce are best prepared before starting to cook the dish.
For the meatballs
Thoroughly mix the pork, garlic, breadcrumbs, and seasoning. Divide mixture to make 24 balls, putting them on a plate, and cover. Refrigerate to firm up a little while preparing the vegetables and making up the sauce.
For the vegetables
De-seed and slice the peppers, peel and slice the carrots on the diagonal, crush the garlic cloves, and peel and grate the ginger. Set to one side.
For the sauce
Squeeze the juice from the orange into a small bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk well to combine.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the meatballs and brown over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Shake the pan frequently so they brown all over. Remove from the pan and place in a single layer on a plate covered with kitchen paper so any fat can be absorbed.
Next, pour the remaining oil in the pan and add the peppers and carrots. Sauté over a medium heat for 5 minutes to soften a little, stirring frequently. Then stir through the garlic and ginger, and cook for a another minute.
Now pour in the sauce, stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and return the meatballs to the pan. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve with rice and sprinkle with paprika to garnish.
Marsala, an Italian wine, traditionally flavours this classic dish. The chicken breasts are sautéed and served on a bed of sautéed red pepper and carrot sticks. A thyme–marsala sauce is then poured over and the dish is served with linguine.
Now place a chicken breast between 2 pieces of cling film/plastic wrap and, working from the centre to the edges, pound lightly with a rolling pin to flatten. Repeat with the three remaining pieces of chicken.
Spread the flour over a plate. Then coat each chicken breast in the flour, shaking off any excess and transfer to a clean plate. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the carrot strips and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then add the red pepper, garlic, and seasoning and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
Divide the vegetables amongst the four plates and return them to the oven to keep warm while cooking the chicken.
Depending on the size of your pan this may be needed to be done in two batches. So, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, add the chicken and, over a medium heat, sauté for 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and keep warm in the oven.
Reduce the heat under the pan to very low. Add the wine and thyme and scrape up any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir for 1 minute. You just want the wine to warm through but not evaporate.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and serve with linguine.
115g (4 oz) mozzarella cheese, cut into four thick slices
2 tsp dried oregano
Pasta (fettuccini works well)
Cut the pork into four and then flatten a little by placing each piece between cling film/plastic wrap and bashing with a rolling pin.
Place the fillets side by side in a shallow dish. Season and add the sprigs of oregano and crushed garlic. Then pour over the wine, cover the dish and marinade for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6.
Meanwhile, spread the flour over a plate. Remove the fillets from the marinade and pat dry, then coat both sides in the flour. Reserve the marinade.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the butter over a moderate heat in a large frying pan/skillet. The butter will begin to foam and when this almost stops add the pork fillets. Sear on both sides for 2–3 minutes.
Strain the reserved marinade and add to the pan/skillet. Let it bubble for 30 seconds, then add the stock, and season. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to a low setting, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the passata into a small pan over a moderate heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season, and let it bubble, uncovered, to reduce to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes.
Now bring a kettle of water to the boil for the pasta and cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet.
Next, put the peppers in a bowl, pour over 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Tip into a large pan and sauté until soft.
Once the pork is cooked through, transfer the fillets to an ovenproof dish that is large enough to hold them in a single layer.
Add 1 tablespoon water to the frying pan/skillet, stir and then reduce the liquid to 3–4 tablespoons. Spoon over the pork.
Cover each fillet with a slice of mozzarella and then add a large spoonful of the passata sauce in the middle of the slice. (Keep any remaining sauce warm.) Sprinkle over the oregano.
Pop in the oven until the cheese just starts to melt, about 5 minutes.
Spoon any remaining passata on four dinner plates and then top with the pasta. Add the pork fillets and spoon over the sauce from the ovenproof dish. Serve with the peppers.
1 courgette/zucchini, halved lengthways then cut into 1cm/½ inch slices
2 × 400g/28 fl oz can chopped/diced tomatoes
20g fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tsp light brown soft sugar
salt and pepper
a large sauté pan
Preheat the grill/broiler for 10 minutes.
Place the peppers on a baking tray, skin side up, then grill/broil until the skin has blackened and blistered. Remove from the heat and place in a plastic food storage bag using tongs. Seal the bag and leave to become cool. (The steam that is released helps to lift the skin away from the flesh.)
Meanwhile, season the chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the chicken and, over a medium heat, brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan, reduce the heat to low, add the onions and cook until softened and coloured around the edges, 10 minutes.
Next, add the garlic and courgette slices, cover the pan and cook for a further 4–5 minutes, until the courgettes have started to soften.
While the vegetables are cooking, peel off the skins of the peppers and cut the flesh into thin strips.
Finally, add the tomatoes, half the basil, sugar and peppers to the pan and season. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then return the chicken breasts to the pan, pushing them down into the pan. Cook, uncovered, over a gentle heat, for 20 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through.
Serve with fettuccine and the remaining basil scattered on top.
Quick Mediterranean chicken combines strips of chicken fillets with peppers and penne cooked in a herb flavoured soup. This is a really quick dish to prepare and cook. Great for those nights when time is short.
10 fl oz can tomato, basil and oregano soup (Campbells)
300ml/10 fl oz water
salt and pepper
170g/6 oz penne (De Cecco is my favourite)
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Serve with sautéed courgettes/zucchini and broccoli florets.
Large frying pan/skillet or saute pan
Heat oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken, pepper and garlic and stir fry for 5 minutes.
Stir in the soup and water. Season to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and peppers are soft.
Meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt and a glug of olive oil. Add the pasta to the pan and cook according to the directions on the packet. Drain. Stir the pasta through the chicken and peppers.