Cod as the Basques do

What is well known in France is a chicken recipe made as the Basques do and it’s called “chicken à la basquaise”; making fish this way is somewhat innovative but also very good. The sweetness of the cod goes well with the tomato sauce and the red peppers. The hot pepper you choose (Pili-Pili Peppers or Espelette pepper - for more local color) season the dish, and how strong it will be depends on how you work the pepper.

In two words:

“There is a sea to welcome you deep inside, as the eternity is going to welcome the man at the end of his stormy voyage in the valley of time”.

Walter Scott, Les puritains d’Ecosse Tweet
To Start...

difficulty easy
preparation– 10’
cooking - 15' (for the sauce) + 10' (for the cod)
serves - 1
 

Ingredients

  • 1 cod fillet for one
  • 1 small onion or ½ of a medium onion
  • ½ of a sweet red pepper
  • ½ of a garlic glove
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 small pili-pili pepper or ½ teaspoon of Espelette pepper
  • 100ml of tomato puree
  • ½ teaspoon of thyme (*)
  • 1 small bay leaf or ½ of a big one (*)
  • 200ml of hot water
  • ½ teaspoon of coarse salt
  • 5 turn mills of Kampot black pepper

Steps

  • Preheat the oven at 180°C
  • Peel and dice the onion in small cubes
  • Cut the pepper in vertical slices and then in three
  • Press the garlic or slice it in very small dices
  • Heat-up a small casserole
  • Add the onion and stir constantly to evaporate its humidity
  • Add the olive oil and stir in the onion until it becomes a bit brown
  • Add the garlic and stir again for 30 sec to give it some color
  • Add the peppers and stir until they lose their crunchiness
  • Add the pili-pili pepper or the Espelette pepper and stir; the longer you stir the stronger your dish will be
  • Add tomato puree and stir
  • Add thyme and bay leaf and stir again
  • Add the hot water and stir
  • Add salt and pepper and stir one last time
  • Put the lid on and cook for 15’ in medium heat
  • Put the sauce in a pan going into the oven
  • Put the cod on the sauce
  • Add some salt and pepper
  • Cook into the oven for 8’-10’
  • Serve with a bit of rice

What’s the story behind this recipe?

At the time I started making this recipe I did not know the Basque Country. It took me 10 years to visit and since I go back again and again because the ocean put a spell on me and it gives me even greater comfort than the Mediterranean Sea. The only place in Greece that gives me the same comfort it is the view at the Caldera in Santorini Island.

Inspiration

Recipe Weight Watchers (**)

(*) You can remplace the thyme and the bay leaf with a bouquet garni (as they say in France) for fish found at Albert Ménès

(**) I will provide you with the exact reference as soon as I have access to my book again

o-o C'est si bon ! o-o

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