The New Portuguese Table by David Leite, includes recipes like Piri-Piri Sauce, Molho de Piri-Piri; Grilled Chicken Slathered in Hot Sauce, Frango com Piri-Piri; Azorean Kale, Sausage, and Bean Soup, Sopa de Couve; and Olive Oil-Poached Fresh Cod with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Confitado de Bacalhau Fresco com Tomatada Assada.
After a centuries-long love affair with salt cod, the Portuguese are beginning to flirt with the fresh version. And, to me, no preparation is better than this. If you've never had the pleasure of tucking into oil-poached fish, you're in for a treat. The oil, infused with lemon, slowly cooks the fish until it's unctuous and amazingly supple.
Yes, 2 to 3 cups of olive oil is a lot, but the good thing is you can use it again to poach more fish. To reuse the oil, let it cool, filter it through several layers of cheesecloth, and store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
For the Tomato Sauce
For The Cod
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and crank up the heat to 450 degrees F.
2. Toss the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and zest with the oil on a rimmed baking sheet, then flip all the tomatoes cut side up. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes soften and a few stray onions begin to color, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. While the tomatoes are roasting, generously season the cod fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Fit them snugly in one layer into a small baking dish. Add just enough oil to cover completely, then pour off the oil into a small saucepan, add the zest, and warm over low heat for 10 minutes. The bits of lemon will sizzle as the oil infuses, which is a sign the mixture is at the perfect temperature. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the tomatoes and onions from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 225 degrees F. Opening the oven door will help hasten things; it's crucial to wait until the proper temperature is reached. Too high a temperature will cause the cod to lose it suppleness. Meanwhile, toss out the strip of lemon zest from the tomatoes and scoop the contents of the baking sheet into a small saucepan. Stir in the vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cover to keep warm.
5. Pour the infused oil over the cod, transfer to the oven, and poach until just opaque in the center, 20 to 30 minutes.
6. Just before serving, warm the tomato sauce over low heat. Carefully remove the cod fillets from the oil with a spatula, blot with paper towels, and slide onto four warmed plates. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, sprinkle with the oregano, and spritz with lemon juice.
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This page created May 2010
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