Cod Basquaise


Codfish is a delicious, sturdy, white-fleshed fish. So many people only know salted cod, but codfish is very versatile and can stand up to hearty sauces and strong cooking techniques. Inspired by the Cacciucco I ate in Italy, and also by the memory of the sauces of the Basque country, where I spent some time as a child, I developed this dish using a sauce with a tomato base and red wine sauce.

Serves 4


For the basquaise: Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan; add onion and sweat until tender over medium-low heat. Add garlic and continue cooking until tender; add the ham and peppers. When the peppers are soft, add the tomatoes and thyme and simmer, stirring often, over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the red wine and cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt, pepper and Espelette pepper. This can be done the day before.

Heat a griddle or a griddle pan until very hot, add the canola oil. Season the codfish on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the codfish to the pan along with the thyme and garlic, lower the heat to medium and sauté until the fish is golden brown on the bottom, about 6-8 minutes. Turn the fish over and finish cooking for another 2-3 minutes, until a metal skewer can be easily inserted into the fish and, when left in for 5 seconds, feels just warm when touched to the lip.

Meanwhile, heat the basquaise until hot. Spoon basquaise onto plates, place sautéed cod in the center and serve immediately.



The Basquaise

3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup small diced Serrano ham
½ cup small diced red bell
½ cups small diced yellow bell
1 cup tomato, peeled, seeded
   and diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh
   thyme leaves
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- fine sea salt and freshly
   ground pepper
- Espelette pepper or cayenne

The Codfish

2 tablespoons canola oil
4 (6 ounce) codfish fillets
2 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled and
- fine sea salt and freshly
   ground white pepper

Justin Gilman

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