This is such a deliciously simple dish. Fresh, vibrant, and so easy to knock up! If you are looking for something love to make for friends when they come over, then look no further than my cod with pea puree, crispy pancetta and watercress.
I often forget about cod when I’m thinking about fish. To often his reputation for being battered and fried, means it’s easy to forget how deliciously fresh cod can be! Thick and meaty, it’s a hearty kind of fish, and I like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love fish and chips as much as the next person, but I try not to indulge on a regular basis as more often than not, it leaves me feeling a little like I’ve been battered and deep fried. Which I don’t always love…
I guess this is a bit of a fresher take on fish and chips. Pairing the cod with pea puree is obviously taking inspiration from fish and chips and mushy peas. It’s a classic, tried and tested combination, so why mess with it?? Mushy peas have to be one of my favourite things in the world, and this puree is wonderfully simple to make.
The subtle meatiness of the cod, with the fresh vibrant peas are set off so well with the crisp salty pancetta. WOW. My whole mouth just filled with saliva.
I love the bright colours, and how pretty it looks all on one plate which is definitely my favourite way of serving food. Pass the platter round the table and get everyone to help themselves. So informal and by far the best way of enjoying food.
A great thing about this recipe is that it is seriously easy to multiply for lots of people, but to get you started, here is a recipe to serve 4:
(Ps. don’t get too hung up on things like the exact measurements of the shallots…nothing bad will happen if you are slightly out)
- 20g shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 400g frozen peas
- pinch of salt and pepper
- ½ lemon
- small handful of mint leaves
- 200ml of milk, dairy, almond, or lactose free
- 4 x cod fillets, preferably skin on (I like to choose the thickest chunkiest I can!)
- drizzle olive oil and a small knob of butter, I like using goats butter
- 8 slices of parma ham
- handful of watercress
- ½ lemon
- To make the pea puree, heat the oil in a pan and then add the shallots. Cook them gently, until they are soft but not coloured.
- Then add the peas and the milk and simmer for about 8 minutes.
- Once cooked, pop a sieve over a jug and drain off the milk.
- I save a few peas for scattering over the dish at the end, then...
- Put the remaining peas and onion mixture into a blender and season with salt and pepper. Add the mint leaves, and the juice of ½ lemon. Blitz for about 2 minutes until really smooth. You can add more of the milk in the jug if you think it needs it. You want it to be a thickish puree. Thicker than a soup, but smoother and runnier than mushy peas!
- Tip: You don't want to make this too far in advance or the vibrant green will fade
- Fry the parma ham in a dry frying pan, there is no need to add any oil. Cook until crispy, but don't allow to get too dark or it will taste too bitter.
- Wipe the pan with a piece of kitchen towel, and then add a drizzle of olive oil. Season the cod fillets, and then fry with the skin side down for about 3-4 minutes until the skin is gorgeous and crispy. Then flip them over and add the knob of butter. Use a spoon to baste the cod with the bubbling butter. They should take another 2 minutes or so to cook. They are cooked when they flake easily with a fork.
- Then, pour the pea puree onto a large dish, arrange the cod on top. Scatter over the spare peas and a sprinkling of watercress. Arrange the crispy pancetta on the top, and then squeeze over the juice of ½ lemon and add a drizzle of olive oil to make you feel like Jamie Oliver.
- Totally delicious, and so easy!
This is such a quick dish to make, it should take less than 20 minutes from start to finish…fast food at its best!
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