Our menus have featured a lot of meat recently so we’ve focused and had a few fishy weekends to redress the balance. This is another great recipe from Moro, really delicate and delicious. We followed their suggestion and served with a chickpea salad and saffron rice. A rare Saturday night treat for just the two of us; we made the full sauce but only used two cod fillets.
Get started early as the rice needs to soak for a few hours.
Wine Suggestion: a light, dry white wine with good flavour and texture is what we think goes best. We had a good Muscadet from Domaine de la Chauviniere which has a good depth of flavour despite it’s light body. Alternately a good Alvarinho/Albariño would be a good match too.
Cod Baked with Tahini Sauce & Saffron Rice – serves 4
- 4 thick cod fillets with skin, about 200g each
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 tbsp tahini paste
- juice of 1 lemon
- 5 tbsp water
- 80g unsalted butter
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 5 green cardamom pods, cracked
- 3 black peppercorns
- 200g basmati rice, washed and soaked in salted water for 3 hours
- a good pinch of saffron threads infused in 4 tbsp boiling water
- small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- 1 lemon, quartered
Start by making the tahini sauce and the rice as the fish won’t take long at the end.
For the Tahini Sauce:
Crush the garlic cloves with a good pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle until you have a paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and whisk in the tahini and lemon juice. Add the water until you get a sauce the consistency of double cream. Taste and season.
For the Saffron Rice:
Gently melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and black peppercorns and fry gently for about 4 minute or until aromatic.
Drain the rice and add to the butter, stirring to coat in the butter. Turn the heat up to medium-high and pour over enough water to cover by about 1cm, season with salt.
Place a piece of greaseproof paper on the surface of the water, then cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and paper and drizzle the saffron water evenly over the rice. Cover again with the paper and the lid, turn the heat to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
For the Cod:
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
You need to cook the cod on the hob first ideally in an ovenproof frying pan or failing that a roasting tray that can go on the hob.
Add the olive oil to cover the base of the pan. Season the cod generously with salt and pepper, then place in the pan with the skin side up, keep shaking the pan all the time to prevent sticking. Cook for a couple of minutes to seal. Turn the fish over carefully and put the pan in the oven for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your fish. The fish is cooked when it is easy to flake and looks completely white inside.
Pour the tahini sauce into the pan with the fish to warm for 30 seconds, then transfer to hot plates. Spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish with the parsley and pomegranate seeds.
Serve with the chickpea salad, saffron rice & lemon.
(Original recipe from Moro the Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)