Cod is something I usually associate with fish and chips, if I am even remembering what fish fish and chips are made of, that is. But cod can be cooked in many other ways (try it wrapped in foil and baked a la Mark Bittman) and because not each and every home cook chooses it stateside, the price is lovely and often under $10 a pound–a real bargain for fish. (Europe is another story; cod outsells salmon in France, for instance.) Watch for it at your grocery fish counter; I watched and found it at mine! By the way: if you suffer from fish cooking fear, a common American phobia, cod is a great place to start. It’s forgiving, cooks quickly, and comes in close to one-pound well-filleted pieces with nary a tiny bone to worry your sweet mouth.
(below: Cod is no longer a huge fishing industry off the coast of eastern Canada and the U.S. as it was largely overfished for centuries, but we heard lots about its interesting history in our travel to the eastern provinces over the last few years. Top- Dave at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia and bottom- a view of the shore from the St. Lawrence River and Seaway. Dave and I have cruised it three times and hope to go back.) While cod is perhaps not the most grillable fish, it does grill fairly easily and is simply improved with a quick marinade. A lean and mild, adaptable white fish, it gives over quickly to other flavors (try chili oil) and I liked it with citrus–lemon and orange together. With a few fast-grilled vegetables and some crispy potato slices, this summer salad comes together splendidly topped with a light drizzle of mustard vinaigrette made with a little garlic and shallot or red onion. Try this:
GRILLED COD SALAD
Grilled on charcoal, gas, or indoor grill, this salad takes a few minutes in the warm summer night, but that gives you time to pour a little glass of cold white wine and set the table, right? Read through the recipe before beginning. Sauté the asparagus as the other vegetables grill or grill it too, if you like. SERVES 2
- 1 cup fresh greens
- Juice of 1/2 a large orange (You’ll need 1 1/2 oranges total for the recipe.)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 3 small red potatoes, unpeeled, sliced 1/4-inch thick, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper*
- 1 small zucchini sliced, 4 large sliced mushrooms, 1/2 sweet red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch slices–all tossed in a bowl with 1 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pound cod fillet, cut in half horizontally and tossed gently with the juice of whole orange, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch (1/8 teaspoon) of crushed red pepper
- Lemon, cut into quarters
- 1/2 pound asparagus spears, trimmed, and sautéed until tender with oil, salt, and pepper
- 3 tablespoons mustard vinaigrette**
- 1 small tomato, small dice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or basil
1. Divide greens between two serving plates and then drizzle with the orange juice Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. 2. Heat grill to medium and grill all of the oiled and seasoned vegetables at once until browned and tender, turning once. Or grill the potatoes first and then do the other vegetables if you’re using a smaller indoor grill and need to work in batches. If you grill everything at once, the potatoes will take the longest, so take off the zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers as they finish cooking or start with potatoes and add the rest after you turn the potato slices over. Set the cooked potatoes and vegetables aside in a bowl; cover to keep warm. 3. Brush grill lightly with oil and grill the briefly-marinated fish fillets 4-5 minutes on each side or until opaque, but still tender. Transfer to platter; squeeze a 1/4 lemon over all. Cover to keep warm. 4. Divide vegetables, including the asparagus, between the two serving plates; add warm fish. Drizzle salads with mustard vinaigrette and garnish with chopped tomatoes and parsley. A last sprinkle of salt and pepper over all might be appreciated. 5. Serve warm or at room temperature. Add the remaining lemon wedges to the plate if you like. * Swap out white potatoes for sweet potatoes if that appeals or leave them out all together if necessary. ** MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE (This makes more than you’ll need; cut in half if you don’t want extra.)
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Hot sauce: a few drops or to taste, optional
Whisk together the vinegar with the salt, pepper, shallot, garlic, mustard and honey; let rest a few minutes. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continually, until the mixture is emulsified or very well mixed. Taste, add hot sauce if using, and adjust seasonings.
INFO YOU MIGHT LIKE
(Ordering info below for COD; A BIOGRAPHY OF THE FISH THAT CHANGED THE WORLD)
A little about cod from Livestrong.com:
Cod is relatively inexpensive, simple to cook and it makes an excellent addition to a healthy diet. One 3-1/2 oz. serving of fresh cod fish contains only 85 calories and offers protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Cooking cod fillets should be done simply and with moist heat to keep them from drying out. Baking cod fillets wrapped up snugly in aluminum foil brings out the best of their delicate, mild taste and firm texture.
*Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World–Yes, a whole book about cod. It’s on my shelf!
*HOW TO GRILL POTATOES VIDEO (above: Dave at a dock restaurant in Halifax, Nova Scotia–one of our favorite spots.) You Ain’t a Nova Scotian if You Don’t Like Fish Ah, go ahead; hit the fish counter, Alyce