Cod is a remarkable canvas against which bright colors may be splashed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 shallots, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
8 large brine-cured green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves plus sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/4 pounds cod steak, cut into 6 pieces
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 cup fish stock or water
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, shallots, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until the onion is pale golden, about 15 minutes.
3. Stir in the vinegar, and simmer gently, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the olives and the thyme leaves, and cook, uncovered, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, remove the skillet from the heat, and keep warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Oil a baking dish just large enough to hold the cod in one layer. Add the cod, season with salt and pepper, and add the wine and fish stock or water. Cover with a lightly oiled piece of waxed paper. Roast the fish for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish (figure 10 minutes per inch).
5. Transfer the fish to a large plate and keep warm. Pour the cooking liquid into the skillet with the olive mixture, and cook, stirring, over moderate heat, until warmed through. Serve the cod with the sauce, garnished with the thyme sprigs.
Cod is a remarkable canvas against which bright colors may be splashed; in this recipe, the mild, snowy-white firm flesh perfectly sets up the strong, Mediterranean flavors of the sauce. What's remarkable about cod is that, despite the swirls of flavor around it, it always retains its subtle character. Serves 6