This is a quick version of the classic Portuguese pairing of fish and pork, often done with clams or other fish as a stew known as a cataplana. I didn’t have wherewithal to manage a cataplana so I improvised after buying cod at a farmer’s market. The key ingredients, beside the cod, are linguica, a smoked sausage from Portugal, and a preserved sweet red-pepper paste, massa de pimentao. My Portuguese mother-in-law and her siblings used to make both each year, keeping me regularly supplied, but the tradition is waning with advancing age, alas. Linguica's main ingredients are wine, garlic and massa de pimentao, which this recipe echoes. If you can’t find linguica, you can substitute chorizo or another spiced, smoked pork sausage. You can make your own pepper paste (http://food52.com/recipes...) or there’s an easy shortcut in this recipe, which works fine. There are endless variations to this. You can adjust the ingredients fit the amount of fish you’re cooking, whether for one or ten. You can use any firm white fish. I’ve also done it with hake and monkfish. Sometimes I add potatoes, sometimes onions; other herbs like thyme or oregano also work, depending on one’s mood. You can also substitute canned tomatoes, but it makes the sauce thicker and more cloying (though not in a very bad way). It’s best to use an oven proof frying pan large enough to hold the fish for the roasting, which has the added benefit of making it a one-pot meal. —Steven Lee Myers
- Serves 4
linguica (or other spiced, smoked sausage) chopped into half-inch cubes
cloves of garlic, sliced
red pepper flakes (optional)
dry white wine
large tomatoes or three medium
red bell pepper, cored, seeded and blended coarsely with a half teaspoon of salt
bay leaves, fresh if possible, or dried
1 to 1.5 pounds
fresh cod, cut into four serving-size chunks
Salt to taste
parsley, chopped for garnish
- In an oven-proof frying pan, heat the oil over medium and brown the linguica, roughly 10 minutes. Don't worry if it falls apart, as the real stuff is apt to do.
- Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Add the wine to deglaze the pan
- While the linguica is cooking core, seed the red pepper, and put in a blender or food processor with a half teaspoon of salt until it becomes a coarse paste, and add that. If you have massa de pimentao already, add three heaping tablespoons
- Add the tomatoes and bay leaf and then let the sauce simmer and breakdown, 15 to 20 minutes. If it gets thick, add more wine or water. It should be a little soupy. Taste for salt.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees while the sauce simmers.
- Salt the cod and nestle the pieces in the sauce, put the pan in the over and roast until done, 10 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of the cod, checking frequently.
- Set the fish on individual plates and spoon the sauce around or over it. Garnish with parsley.