Back in my cafe days, we’d sear fresh fish to order on a daily basis. It’s been a while.
So with a touch of nostalgia, I give you pan fried cod, dredged first through paprika flour and salted for a good ten minutes before hand – this firms up the flesh a treat and is a proper good chef trick gleaned from a pal.
Served on a variation of a very green salad from Leon and dressed to the nines with a lemon & garlic vinaigrette.
Serves 2, with plenty of salad left over for lunch tomorrow.
2 super fresh cod fillets
Flour and paprika to dredge
A good handful of tender stem broccoli, halved long ways
A cup of peas, defrosted frozen is fine
1/3 cucumber, cut into three, then each portion cut into six, long ways and deseeded
3 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1 avocado, sliced
A cup of cooked quinoa – dry toast the quinoa before cooking to bring out the flavour
Lots of fresh parsley, mint and coriander – finely chopped
Lemon & garlic vinaigrette: (1tbsp lemon juice, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, seasoning, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 3 tbsp light olive oil – into a jam jar, lid on and shake it up like Taylor Swift).
Whilst you assemble your salad ingredients, place the cod fillets onto a kitchen towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt. This helps to draw excess moisture from the fish and firms up the fillet.
Briefly blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water – two minutes will do the trick, then drain under cold, running water.
In a generous bowl, combine broccoli with peas, cucumber, seeds, avocado, cooked quinoa and fresh herbs. Set to one side whilst you cook the cod.
In a small tub, (an ice cream container is ideal), place 4 tbsp of seasoned flour and a tbsp of smoked paprika. Gently toss the cod fillets, one at a time, through the paprika flour and set to one side.
Heat sunflower oil (this is better than olive oil for frying as it can reach a higher temperature, which means a crispier finish) In a non-stick frying pan until hot. Carefully transfer the cod into the pan and let it sit in the oil, with just a little shake to prevent sticking, for 4-5 minutes. Be bold here – you want to achieve a beautiful golden crust on your fish.
Once it’s looking good and golden, carefully flip and fish and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Cooking times are a guide line only, as it depends on the thickness of your fillet. The cod may need less, it may need more. You’re looking for the flesh to be opaque throughout.
Quickly dress your salad with the vinaigrette and serve with the cod fillets on top.
Dig in and feel good.