Oiled Up

Dinner:  April 9, 2009

After a couple of pork-heavy dinners in a row, I was craving something a little lighter last night. I thought about the remaining fish filets I had stashed in the freezer a couple weeks back, and decided to plan something around one of them. I’m still swooning at the memory of the striped bass I had at La Laiterie last Friday night, so I thought it was perhaps too soon to cook it again at home. So it would be cod then – but how to prepare it?

going into the oven

I didn’t want to roast it again, and fried fish didn’t really appeal, so in the end, I decided to revisit a technique I don’t use often enough when cooking fish: poaching. To simplify things even more, I decided to forego the traditional court-bouillon and poach the fish in olive oil.

my favorite spiced salt

I divided the cod into three relatively equal pieces, seasoned them well with my favorite spiced sea salt, and nestled them in a small baking dish. I added enough extra virgin olive oil to cover them, then placed them in a preheated oven set to 260 – the lowest setting on our oven. I set a timer for 25 minutes and got to work on accompaniments: Simmons Farm spinach, sauteed with sliced shallot, some previously cooked chickpeas (you can, of course, substitute canned) added to the pan to warm through, and a Middle Eastern-inspired sauce of flat-leaf parsley, chives, mint, chile flakes, lemon and more olive oil.

spinach, shallot, chickpeas

The cod cooked up beautifully, with a silky, flaky texture and no hint of greasiness, and the chickpea-spinach combo was a hit as well. I was so impressed with the results I can’t wait to try this again with other varieties of seafood (Bomster scallops, I’m looking at you).

9 thoughts on “Oiled Up

  1. Daisy says:

    Your cod preparation looks delicious. I tried olive oil poaching for the first time this week as well and was pleased with the results. I made Stephanie Izard’s recipe for Olive Oil Poached Shrimp and Soba Salad (but subbed other noodles as I didn’t have soba on hand). I really liked the flavors in the recipe and the texture of the olive oil poached shrimp.

    Link to the recipe: http://www.stephanieizard.com/?q=node/359

  2. Delicious! I’ll have to try that. Fish with oil reminds me of a favorite Greek condiment for fish: Olive oil and butter with oregano – then it’s sparingly poured on the fish, which is of course served whole. YUMMERS! And of course then the chick-peas also fit in perfectly 🙂

  3. This dinner sings to me! I’ve poached fish in olive oil a couple of times and loved the results (though I did mine stove top) and spinach and chickpeas are 2 staples in my kitchen.

  4. That sounds wonderful! I have to ask you about a hesitation I always have though, about using lots of good oil: what do you do with the oil after? I always hate to waste it, so I don’t make these things. Am I simply too frugal, too stingy? Or do you keep it and use it for something else? (I wonder the same thing about deep frying, actually).

  5. Hi Jennifer,

    This poached cod looks great! The greens are also a wonderful match. To be honest, I’m not huge on chic peas, so I’d sub toasted pinenuts (but that’s just my own preference).

    Testsuya got famous over a simular olive oil poaching technique which he coined confit of Petuna ocean trout. I used to be a big fan of his back in the day: http://www.tetsuyas.com/.

    Great blog too! I’m excited to explore!


  6. Jennifer Hess says:

    Daisy – Thanks for the link!

    heather – I will probably try the scallops sooner rather than later – stay tuned!

    Traci – oh, that sounds awesome. Love fresh oregano, and we grill whole fish in the summer months often, so I’ll have to give it a try!

    Joan – Thanks! We love our spinach, and I’m slowly converting Mike re: the chickpeas 😀

    claudia – I’m glad to hear you’re getting your seafood fix, but we’ll have to fly you out here to the seafood next time 😉

    Melinda – Well, in this case Mike washed up after dinner and discarded the oil , but I did save the oil from the previous week’s fritto misto for future fish frying. I think as long as it doesn’t reach the smoke point, you can strain it and save it to use again?

    rebekka – Thank you!

    Chef Branden – Oh, the pine nuts sound like a wonderful addition. Thanks for the link and the kind words!

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