On a rainy day in February, when it seemed that half the country had turned into an inland sea, we unexpectedly found ourselves with over four kilos of incredibly fresh, top quality Skrei (line-caught Norwegian cod).
We’d been expecting a far smaller delivery but a miscommunication somewhere along the line resulted in “individual portions” being swapped out for “kilos”, and we were the happy if slightly bemused beneficiaries of the error. After an hour of carefully cutting three gargantuan sides of fish into portions, double wrapping them all in cling film, labelling them with their weight and squeezing all but a couple of them into an already groaningly-full freezer, I took to the web in search of cod recipes.
With the wind outside slamming never-ending needles of cold rain against the thankfully solid walls and windows, I yearned for something hearty, filling and cheering – the weather howled approval of my demand for punchy flavours, plenty of protein, comforting carbs and copious colour.
A recipe for baked cod with chorizo, potatoes and saffron fit the bill.
We liked this recipe a lot but agreed it needed quite a bit of tweaking. Against the strong flavours (and colour) of the chorizo, the saffron was lost; I decided it was superfluous. Our sauté pan is pretty large but the half kilo of sliced potatoes was difficult to move around the pan. The potatoes also made it difficult for the heat to reach and soften the leeks in the short time they had to cook before the liquid was added and came to a boil; I decided to cube the potatoes and add the leeks at a much earlier stage. Lastly, instead of plain oil, I used oil that I’d flavoured and coloured with the chorizo to drizzle over the fish before baking.
My new recipe was everything I hoped.
Cubing the potatoes made them cook more evenly, and also provided lots of edges and corners to crisp up a little in the oven. The softer leeks integrated much better into the chorizo and potato base. And the chorizo-infused oil gave the baked fish a little extra colour on the plate.
Baked Chorizo, Cod & Potatoes Recipe
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
120 grams soft Spanish chorizo*, cubed or thinly sliced
1 leek, white and pale green parts sliced into thin half-discs
500 grams potatoes, peeled and cubed
120 ml (half cup) water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
500 grams fresh skrei or cod fillet, cut into two or three portions as required
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
Note: Spanish chorizo can be purchased either as a fresh, soft sausage that requires cooking, or a harder and drier cured version which can be eaten as is. Make sure you buy the soft cooking chorizo.
- Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).
- Heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large oven-proof pan, add the chorizo and cook over a medium heat until the chorizo starts to change colour, about 2-3 minutes. The oil will take on plenty of colour from the chorizo spices.
- Carefully retrieve a tablespoon of the cooking oil from the pan and set to one side.
- Add the leek and continue to cook for a few minutes, until the leek softens.
- Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, until the potatoes soften a little around the edges.
- Add the water, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. As the pan is already hot, this should only take a few moments.
- Place the pieces of fish over the contents of the pan and drizzle with the reserved chorizo-flavoured oil.
- Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the cod is opaque. If your fillets are much thicker or thinner than those shown, you may need to adjust cooking time by a couple of minutes in either direction.
- Either serve the pan to the table, family style, or plate individual portions. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
This is a really simple dish to make. Prep (of chorizo, leeks and potatoes) doesn’t take very long and the entire cooking time is not much more than half an hour, so it’s ideal any day of the week.
Kavey Eats received samples of fresh skrei (line caught Norwegian cod) from the Norway Seafood Council.