If the Mediterranean diet tends to suit your fancy, this lovely Cod with Rustic Tomato-Fennel Sauce should grab you attention. Leave out the bread and you have a healthy, low-carb meal in no time. The recipe works well with any firm, meaty fish such as cod, salmon, haddock or striped sea bass. You could even use extra-large shrimp.
The sauce is chockfull of flavor with the additions of garlic, capers, lemon, fennel and olives. In the original recipe, it calls for only 1 1/2 cups of marinara, whereas I used an entire 25 ounce jar, but did not include the 1/2 cup of water. I figured why water it down only to reduce the sauce afterward?
Cod with Rustic Tomato-Fennel Sauce
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large bulb fennel, core removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice, fronds reserved
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pitted Castelvetrano olives
- 3 Tbs. capers, drained and rinsed
- 1 small lemon, peel removed and finely chopped
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 cups good-quality marinara sauce
- 2 lbs. skinless cod fillets
- Rustic crusty bread (optional)
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil until shimmering. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and light golden, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the olives, capers, peel, oregano, and pepper flakes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Add the marinara and 1/2 cup water (I did not add water, but added a lot more marinara), and reduce the heat to medium low. Gently simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pat the fish dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Add the fish and cook, flipping once, until light golden-brown on the outside and the flesh is translucent when cut into, about 5 minutes total. Do not crowd the fish in the pan otherwise you’ll steam instead of brown them. You may have to sear in two batches.
- Spoon the sauce into shallow bowls, and top with a fish fillet. garnish with the reserved fennel fronds, and serve with the bread, if you like.
Adapted from a recipe bfrom Fine Cooking