Served in a soup bowl, this light and elegant dish makes for an unexpected and somewhat different presentation of a main course. Poached in a simple, yet fragrant chicken-based broth, cod fillets absorb all the aromatic flavors and create a lively meal. When serving, scoop the fillets into each bowl and then pour the delicious broth with vegetables around it. Pair the dish with a light and crisp, floral white wine from the Sicilian organic producer Arianna Occhipinti, and you’ll easily be transported to a coastal town near the beaches of Sicily.
This recipe is very versatile and, of course, incredibly tasty. I slightly altered the original recipe found in the May 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine by adding some extra vegetables and mushrooms to the broth. I believe that these additions result in more depth, substance, and fun to the flavor of the broth if used in moderation – remember less is more. If you decide to use these ingredients, just reduce the quantities of the other vegetables called for in the recipe below. The broth should remain sparse and not overcrowded with vegetables.
Play with what you like the most, as this dish can be prepared with a number of different vegetables – multicolored florets of cauliflower, small courgettes, pattison or summer squash, even some fresh corn when in season – anything you like and feel like having can be combined. In my preparation, I used crispy sugar snap peas, hearty fingerling potatoes, meaty mushrooms, bright zucchini strips and the moist flaky cod fillets.
Thinly slice the red onion.
Cut the sugar snap peas diagonally, exposing all the peas inside the pod.
Using a vegetable peeler, make long, thin zucchini strips and put them aside.
Mushrooms add another layer of texture and visual appeal. Whenever I shop at Whole Foods, I always buy the Chef’s Sampler Mushrooms from Mycopia when I can, but this time they weren’t available so I used white beech mushrooms instead.
Lightly sautée the mushrooms for three-four minutes in olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and put them aside.
I also added some enoki mushrooms just to give the dish an extra texture and flavor.
Cut the woody stems off of the enoki mushrooms and separate them evenly. Rinse under cold running water right before using and add them to the broth at the very end of cooking time.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise, divide. The other half you will add at the end.
Bring the broth, onion, 1 ½ cups of tomatoes, potatoes, basil sprigs, red-pepper flakes, and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt to boil in a large and deep, straight-sided skillet with a tight-fighting lid. The broth is on the spicy side; I used ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, but you can adjust that to your liking.
Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper, and add to the broth mixture. Cover and simmer until fish is opaque throughout and just cooked through, about seven minutes.
Add sugar snap peas, remaining half cup tomatoes, and lemon juice to skillet. If using, add the seared mushrooms, the rinsed and cleaned enoki mushrooms, and the zucchini strips to the broth in the last two minutes. Gently stir to combine; cook just until everything is warmed through.
Divide the fish, vegetables and broth among four bowls. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and serve with lemon wedges.
Poached Cod with Spring Vegetables in Tomato Broth
recipe detailsServes 4
IngredientsFor the broth
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ medium red onion, very thinly sliced (1/3 cup)
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise, divided
- 8 ounces fingerling potatoes, sliced crosswise in to ¼-inch rounds (I used purple potatoes)
- 3 basil sprigs, plus fresh basil leaves for garnishing
- ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 4 (4 ounces each) skinless cod fillets
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Assortment of gourmet mushrooms, such as white beech, slightly sautéed
- Enoki mushrooms
- ½ medium size zucchini, cut in long thin strips
- Multicolored cauliflower florets (green, purple, yellow), cut into bite size pieces
- Bring broth, onion, ½ cup of tomatoes, potatoes, basil springs, red-pepper flakes, and 1½ teaspoons salt to boil in a large and deep, straight sided skillet with a tight-fighting lid. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are crisp-tender, about 6-8 minutes.
- Season cod with salt and pepper well, add to broth mixture, and cover. Simmer until fish is opaque throughout and just cooked through, about 7 minutes.
- Remove and discard basil springs. Add sugar snap peas, remaining ½ cup tomatoes, and lemon juice to skillet. If using, add strips of zucchini and seared mushrooms, gently stirring to combine. Cook just until warmed through. Divide fish, vegetables and broth among four bowls. Garnish with basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with lemon wedges. Kitchen tip: Cod is a very delicate and flaky fish so be careful not to overcook it. Since each fillet is only four ounces, they can easily fall apart. Ask your fishmonger for even fillets closest to the head. Halibut or hake will work as well.