During the lenten season, as Catholics, my husband and I abstain from eating meat on Fridays. Since my husband gets quite ill from shellfish, we keep our fish eating quite simple and ordinary. Salmon, tilapia, tuna and cod are about it for us. So, on Fridays we either go vegetarian or we stick to our simple fish options.
One we are particularly fond of, is this dish of cod that is simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce. Served over spaghetti, or in this case, linguini, it makes a delicious seafood meal that is quite good anytime of year.
What I like about this dish is that it can be whipped up in a flash. Not one to plan dinner too far ahead of time, if I have to thaw anything, cod fillets thaw pretty quickly and are ready to use within a half hour. With a can of good tomatoes and a few basic vegetables and herbs, dinner can be made within an hour's time.
Since cod is, for all practical purposes, a rather bland or tasteless fish, the quality of the sauce is really important to the overall dish's appeal. While any tomato sauce can be used to make this simple dish, for a truly delicious one, I like a sauce that is a bit more rustic and bursts with flavor. I get that by using hand crushed plum tomatoes to give it a chunky, brothy texture; a sizable amount of chopped onions and sweet peppers (red and yellow are great here); and, a good handful of chopped parsley and fresh basil. Simmer the sauce mixture for about 20 minutes to let the flavors blend and the tomatoes to breakdown. Add the raw fish that has been cut into large chunks, and simmer them in the sauce for another 10-15 minutes, while the pasta cooks.
This is a rather sweet and very chunky sauce. I like to serve peas with it, as I think peas just taste great with any tomato sauce. I also don't add any grated cheese to the dish, not with any fish dish that is, which according to my daughter who has spend some time living in Italy, declares is a no no. Another cautionary note, is to not overcook the fish. If you do, it will be too rubbery and secondly, is will simply break into bits. I prefer the fish pieces to remain whole.
Cod in Tomato Sauce with Linguini
Dinner for 2
1 lb. fresh cod fillets
1 28oz. can plum tomatoes in thick sauce
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/2 red sweet pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow or orange pepper, roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
pinch pepper flakes
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 small handful fresh basil, chopped
olive oil for sauteing
6 oz. linguini or spaghetti
In a large saute pan heat about 1/4 c. of olive oil. When hot add the onions and peppers and saute till they begin to soften.
Add the garlic and pepper flakes and saute until the garlic barely begins to lightly brown.
Add the tomatoes, which have been crushed and broken up into small pieces by hand, along with the packing juice.
Season with some salt. Add the basil and simmer for 20 minutes. The sauce will begin to get thick. Add a small amount of water if it becomes too thick.
Cook the linguini according to package directions.
When you add the dry linguini to the boiling water, add the parsley to the tomato sauce and mix together.
Add the cod. Cover the pan and simmer the cod until the linguini is cooked, which is about 12 minutes.
Gently remove the cod pieces to a dish. Spoon the sauce over the linguini. Mix together and top the dish with the cod pieces, and serve.