Up until recently cod was pretty much off the menu due to overfishing. Now the situation is not so clear, with media reports of good fish stocks and plentiful catches sadly thrown back due to restrictive fishing quotas. I'm no expert on this issue so you will have to make up your own mind on whether to eat cod or not....it is however a beautiful fish to cook with.
Paired up here with curried mussels, much of the prep can be done in advance meaning the cooking time itself is short. The curry flavour is very mild allowing the mussels delicate flavour to come through. For two:
Thick cod fillets - 2x 180g (ask your fishmonger to scale and pin bone the fish for you)
1 large jacket potato
Mussels - 500g
Fish stock - 100ml
Frozen Peas - a large handful
Onion - 1 small, peeled and finely chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, peeled and finely chopped
Butter - 50g
Spring onions - 1/2 bunch, chopped
Mild curry powder - 1 tbsp
Double Cream - 50ml
Vegetable oil - for shallow frying
Fresh coriander - a small bunch
A squeeze of lemon
In a large lidded pan, cook the mussels in the fish stock for a couple of minutes until all have opened. Drain in a colander reserving the cooking liquor and allow the mussels to cool. Reduce the cooking liquor by half making sure you discard any grit that may have settled. Pick the meat from the mussels discarding the shells and chill the meats.
Fry the onion and garlic in half the butter until translucent. Add the curry powder and cook out for a minute or so then add the cream, mussel cooking liquor, peas, spring onions and the finely chopped stems of the coriander. Cook for a minute more, then season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon - turn off the heat.
Heat your oven to 220c. Microwave the jacket potato until cooked then slice into thick rounds. Using the vegetable oil, pan fry in a non-stick, metal handled pan over a medium heat until golden and crispy. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain and season with salt and keep warm in the oven
Give the frying pan a wipe out then put back on a medium high heat. Season the cod with salt only, then fry skin side down in a little vegetable oil. Press the fish flat to the bottom of the pan with a spatula so that the skin crisps evenly. When the skin starts to turn golden, add the remainder of the butter to the pan and transfer to the oven to cook through - maybe 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the cod fillet. You will know when the fish is cooked as you should be able to tease the flakes apart and see to the centre of the fillet - the fish should be white in the middle, not translucent.
Warm the curry sauce with the mussels but don't boil them - remember the mussels are already cooked - then finish with fresh coriander leaves. Plate up with a few sauté potatoes, the sauce and the cod on top.