My husband really, really loves fish – but me? Not so much. Not matter what kind of fish it is, or how fresh it is, or how it’s prepared, it ALWAYS tastes fishy to me! If I’m going to be eating fish for some reason, I’ve found I fare best if I stick with milder white fishes, that are surrounded by a lot of other strong flavors (which help to cover up the fishy taste).
Earlier this week, my husband told me he was going to run up to the grocery store to grab some fish for dinner; I was in need of a light dinner, so I had already told him I was just planning to make a kale salad for dinner, and call it good. But, I suddenly decided that I wanted to give fish a whirl, and told him to pick up something mild for me. He deemed cod to be the best option, and a few hours later, I was cooking cod for the first time!
Pan-Roasted Cod with Tomato and Shallot Jam
One large cod fillet (approx 1lb), cut into individual portions
salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
chopped parsley (optional)
For the tomato and shallot jam:
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 T sugar
salt and pepper
1.) Remove your cod from the fridge, portion it, and let it come to room temp. Meanwhile, start your tomato and shallot jam; heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the shallots, and let them cook for a few minutes, until they’re nice and soft (you don’t want any color on them, so if they start browning, lower your heat).
2.) Add the garlic to the shallots, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add your halved tomatoes to the pan, season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, and stir to combine everything well. Lower your heat just a touch and allow the jam mixture to slowly cook, stirring every couple minutes.
3.) When the tomatoes have started breaking down, fire up your fish pan. I used a large cast iron skillet – cast iron or non-stick would be best, here. Place the pan over slightly higher than medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of butter, and the two smashed garlic cloves to it. While the butter and oil heat, they’ll infuse with the flavor of the garlic cloves – and in turn, the oil and butter will flavor your fish!
4.) While the pan heats, brush your fish with a little bit of olive oil, and then season generously with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides. When the pan is hot, add the fish (making sure to give each piece adequate room). When you add the fish to the pan, go ahead and add the sugar to your tomato jam, and stir it in.
5.) Depending on the thickness of the fish, allow it to cook on the first side for about 3-5 minutes; the thicker parts of my filet needed about 5 minutes, but the thinner end pieces only needed 3. Flip when they are golden brown, and continue to cook for another 2-4 minutes on the second side (again, depending on the thickness of the piece).
6.) The fish should be white and mostly opaque when you’re done – and it shouldn’t be completely firm, it should still spring back just a bit when you press it with a finger. Remove the cooked fish to a paper towel-lined plate to drain for just a minute.
7.) Serve each piece of cod topped with a couple tablespoons of the tomato and shallot jam, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
I’ve gotta say, as someone who doesn’t generally enjoy fish? This was pretty damn tasty! The cod had almost no fishy flavor, and a beautiful brown crust from the olive oil and butter. The sweetness and acidity from the tomato and shallot jam added a perfect flavor boost, and it’s soft, jam-like texture was a nice complement to the firm, flaky fish. I would absolutely make this one again.
For the record, this tomato jam would be great in a million different ways – on top of chicken, spread onto a sandwich, served over cream cheese with crackers, or even just mixed with rice for a side dish!
I fear no fish*,
*that’s a lie.