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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Pan Fried Cod Fillet with Chorizo & Piquilo Pepper Sauce

Pan fried cod fillet with chorizo and piquilo pepper sauce on a bed of  mascapone and garlic mashed potato - this was the main course that Kathie, my wife, chose for her birthday dinner last night.  It was preceded by prawns in garlic and followed by melting middle chocolate puddings, washed down, firstly, by Portell Cava and, then, Mocen Sauvignon Blanc.  We like to do birthdays properly!

So here's what you need for the cod dish; fresh cod fillets (175 g - 225 g), chorizo sausage, piquilo peppers (traditionally Spanish small roasted & peeled red peppers), 100 ml dry white wine, 100 ml fish stock, 100 ml double cream, 25 g butter, salt & pepper to season.

I like to buy whole cod and fillet them, then use the head and bones to make stock.  For me this is the best and most economic way - cod is a precious fish so it is only right to use all of it.  If you are buying cod from a decent fishmonger they will prepare the fish how you like, but make sure you ask for the head and bones for your stock.

Ok - let's cook!

1)  prepare the sauce.  For 2 people a 3-4 cm length of chorizo cut in quarters lengthways, then sliced across at about 3 mm.  Two peppers roughly chopped.  In a shallow pan, over medium heat, add the butter, peppers and chorizo.  Cook for a couple of minutes.

2)  add the wine, turn up the heat and reduce the wine by half, then add the stock and, again, reduce by half.  The colour from the chorizo and pepper will leach into the sauce giving it a beautiful orang/red tinge.

3)  add the cream and reduce the heat so that the pan only simmers - thickening the sauce.  The sauce is thick enough when it will coat the back of a spoon and looks shiny and luxurious.

4)  meanwhile, in a flat pan with a little oil, over medium heat we can cook the cod fillets.  Score the skin side of the fish 2-3 times (this helps the heat penetrate and stop the skin tightening and curling up the fillet).

5)  place each fillet in the pan skin side down and cook for approx 3 minutes.  Turn the fish and cook flesh side down for a further 2 minutes.  It is possible to remove the pan from the heat and allow the latent heat to finish cooking the cod.  Fresh cod is cooked when it starts to flake, the flesh is opaque/white and still moist.  Over-cooked cod is dry and not very appealing.

6)  present the fish on your plate and spoon the sauce over, dividing the chorizo and peppers equally.