On Friday evening I had a craving for some cod – a pice of chunky fish baked in a rich tomatoey sauce with garlic and basil. I’d had a very challenging day of work (working at home but dealing with lots of frustrating calls and a feeling I was getting nowhere on a project) so was looking forward to a very quick and easy supper to restore my sense of well-being and welcome in the weekend.
I took a leisurely walk to the shops in the early evening sunshine, suddenly feeling all my work stress flow away as I thought about how to cook the food. Recipe planning is a kind of meditation for me. Then once back home, unpacking my ingredients and warming up the oven, I realised I had forgotten the tin of tomatoes – the key ingredient in the tomato-baked cod I was craving. Agh.
I wish I could have used my home grown tomatoes but they are still very green. So I improvised a recipe which turned out much better than expected – using tomato purée, white wine and garlic to build up a rich and tasty sauce. This is summer comfort food guaranteed to take away all your work stress on a Friday evening. I served this with baked new potato wedges (economical as the oven was already on). My version of Friday fish and chips.
The cod (which is sustainably sourced) worked out at just over £2 per person. With all the ingredients added up it is probably about £5 for a generous portion which I don’t think is excessive for a Friday night meal. This recipe is for two (as I was eating on my own, I planned to freeze the surplus).
- 2 pieces of cod
- Packet of cooked prawns
- 1 finely chopped small onion (and a finely sliced mini leek which I needed to use up, so the leek is optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- Half a red pepper, thinly sliced (because I needed to use it up)
- Half a small red chilli, finely chopped (for a bit of heat, but not too much)
- About 3 heaped tablespoons of tomato purée
- 2 wine glasses of dry white wine
- Several handfuls of basil leaves, torn by hand
- Bay leaf
- A few slugs of water from a recently boiled kettle
- Splash of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 C.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onions (and leek if you’re using one up too). Cook for three or four minutes then add the chilli, red pepper and garlic and cook for another two or three minutes.
- Add the tomato purée, salt and pepper to season, and stir well.
- Turn up the heat and add the wine and let it boil up to cook off the alcohol. Add the water to get the right consistency for the sauce. Add the prawns, bay leaf and basil leaves and cook for about 10 minutes on a low simmer to get all the flavours infused.
- Put the cod in an oven dish and pour over the sauce. Bake for about 10 minutes.
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