caponata style escarole and cod

It was a beautiful day yesterday, but I wasn’t able to get out of the office to enjoy it, so when I got home, Mike mixed us up a round of Aviations and we took them out front to the stoop to take advantage of the evening’s waning warmth.

I had some local wild cod filets and a bunch of escarole that I wanted to cook up for dinner, so I did a quick search on foodandwine.com and found a recipe for Caponata-Style Escarole and Cod. It sounded quick, easy and tasty, so while I generally don’t cook from recipes, I thought I’d give this a go.

I have cooked a lot of fish fillets (cod included), and I think I can say I’m pretty good at it, but in this instance the cod began to break up about as soon as it hit the oil, and by the time I flipped the fillets and cooked them through, we were left with this:

broken cod

Not pretty, and not a good sign of things to come.

Despite the fact that the fish had pretty much disintegrated, I had high hopes for the sauce. We love olives, capers, anchovies and tomatoes, and we love escarole and all manner of bitter greens – the combination sounded awesome. However, in the finished dish, we thought that the bitter and salty flavors were almost overwhelming. They definitely overpowered the fish, and it just didn’t taste balanced to us. I pulled out the cooked olives and added some uncooked whole olives hoping that their fruitiness might help, but it didn’t. The dish wasn’t inedible, but it was disappointing.

As Mike said, this has a lot of potential, but it needs some work. I do think that I’ll attempt the dish again, tweaking it to maybe add a bit of heat or acidity, and maybe try it with a different fish that will hold up better to the cooking. Not a bad dish, but I hope I can turn out a better version next time around.

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