Here in my new mid-Atlantic town, I am trying to form meaningful relationships with different types of fish. Cod, for instance, was not something I was used to cooking out west, but in the spirit of buying what the fishmonger has (and having a deep fear of cooking mussels at home) I turned to Roast Cod with Little Tomatoes and Assorted Olives.
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This dish also let me take advantage of all the pretty tomatoes that remain in the market, which I am inclined to buy too many of each week in a futile attempt to keep the cooler mornings and increasingly-silver night skies at bay.
This dish also falls under the category of dinners that you can begin right after walking in the door –- in this case by tossing your oil-dabbed tomatoes in the oven while you tend to other things, including chopping up your garlic, taking off your work costume and pulling on sweatpants and calling out things like “Who would like to empty the dishwasher?” and receiving no answer.
You will note that wingirls has you roasting the tomatoes at a fairly high temperature for 25 minutes; I think if you had time you might want to do them lower and longer but this does get the job done. Once you toss your fish in, I think you should put the herbs on, as well, (I used basil and thyme) rather than using them to finish the dish as she suggests.
Cod is like dinner conversation –- it really steps up the game if you can add a zinger to it. Olives fill that role nicely here, a burst of saline tang, joined by tomatoes busting out of their skins as you bite down. If you’re feeling especially under stimulated, add some red pepper flakes.
1 pound assorted grape and cherry tomatoes - different colors work beautifully
30 Assorted Olives, kalamata and nicoise work well together
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 handful chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, mint and oregano work well)
1 cup chicken stock - depending
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish and toss with garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast on the lowest rack for 25 minutes.
3. While the tomatoes are cooking, cut the fish into 4 equal sized pieces, rinse and pat dry.
4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven, nestle the fish into the tomatoes and their juices, scatter the olives and return to the oven for about 25 minutes but of course this depends on the thickness of the fish.
5. Test for doneness -- the cod should separate easily and be JUST opaque. Remove from the oven.
6. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over. Serve hot with quinoa, couscous or crusty bread.
7. Extra note -- the juiciness of the tomatoes can vary -- when adding the fish, if the tomatoes are not seeping, add 1 cup of chicken stock to the dish.
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).