Chef Rodney Bowers serves up some authentic east coast flavour in his hearty corned cod with puttanesca salsa and potato risotto.
4 6-oz. centre-cut cod filets
coarse salt, enough to cover fish (approximately 2 cups)
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
8 sun-dried tomato halves, soaked for 10 min in water, cut into thin strips
12 baked black olives, pits removed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
1 tbsp cured lemon, finely chopped, or couple rasps fresh lemon zest
2 tbsp good wine vinegar
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely sliced
1/2 tsp honey
squeeze lemon juice
1/4 lb. bacon, chopped into 1/4-in. pieces
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 lb. (2 cups) fingerling potatoes, cut into thin, quarter-sized rounds
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, brought to a boil on the stove
2 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
black pepper, to taste
- Place fish in a shallow pan or bowl and cover completely with salt. Let stand for 15 minutes.
- Rinse fish with water, then pat dry and set aside.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a preheated sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic and toast for another minute.
- Add tomatoes, olives, capers and lemon (or zest) and sauté for one minute; add vinegar. Pour mixture into a small bowl and let cool.
- Add remaining olive oil to salsa. Stir in parsley and honey and squeeze in lemon juice. Set aside.
- Render bacon in a large sauté pan or small wide-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
- Add shallots and 1 tbsp butter; cook until soft.
- Add potatoes, sprig of thyme and bay leaf and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Add 1 cup of hot stock. (The stock doesn't need to be hot, but it speeds the process.)
- Stir in spuds and let stock reduce into them.When first batch of stock is almost gone, add a bit more; continue adding stock as it is absorbed until potatoes are soft and creamy, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from heat and take out thyme sprig and bay leaf. Add remaining butter and stir in chives. (You want the risotto to be a little wet.)
- Sear cod, presentation-side down, in 2 tbsp oil in a hot sauté pan. After about a minute, add a sprig of thyme and 1 tbsp butter; baste fish with butter as it cooks.
- Flip fish and continue to baste until just cooked through, about 6 minutes.
- At his restaurant, Rodney adds the fish to the risotto pan before serving so that its juices mix with the potatoes to create a wonderful flavour.
- To plate, place risotto in the bottom of a shallow bowl and top with fish. Spoon salsa overtop and serve.