To poach cod, or other fish, in olive oil is a great alternative to simply cooking it in water. The cod is submerged in olive oil and cooks at low temperature, without bringing the oil to a boil. With this technique it is virtually impossible to overcook the cod. The fish cooks slowly and the oil creates a protective barrier that keeps it moisty. Furthermore, it is tastier (you can add the fresh herbs and spices you like most) and allows you to better manage a poached fish meal for a lot of people (you may also use the oven). After you poach the cod you don’t have to throw away the oil. It can be strained, kept in a jar and used later, in this or other recipes. —Paula
loins of dry, desalted, cod
garlic cloves, unpeeled, slightly crushed
Olive oil (I used almost one bottle of olive oil, 75cl)
Begin by removing the cod skin (optional) and divide the loins to the middle, removing the central bone and other visible ones. Dry the cod pieces with kitchen paper.
In a small saucepan (to reduce the amount of olive oil that you will spend in this recipe, use a saucepan big enough to accommodate the cod fillets without overlapping, but without being too big), put the olive oil, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Allow to warm, without boiling, for 10 minutes. If you use a cooking thermometer, the temperature of the oil should stay around 70º to 80º C.
Add the cod pieces and, if necessary, add a little more olive oil until the cod is completely submerged. Keep the pan uncovered and the oil temperature as indicated, in very low heat, for about 20 minutes (you can see, pressing with the back of a fork, for example, if the fish is flaking, a sign that is ready).
Serve with your chosen side dish. Here it was simply mashed potatoes and cherry tomatoes sautéed in a little of the cod olive oil.