Roni and I are currently spending a few days of vacation in Sonoma and San Francisco. This is our first vacation of the year. Although short, we are excited about relaxing, sleeping in, eating and drinking fine wines all day. As a matter of fact, I just woke up from a post-wine tasting nap and am chilling on a lounge chair on the patio of our little rental cottage with a cool breeze soothing my sunburnt face. It's a beautiful thing to be out of Texas in August, especially in a place like northern California where cool summer breezes exist.
Fresh seafood is the ultimate summer dinner food. Nothing can beat fresh fish sprinkled with fresh lemon juice on a hot summer evening. Fish is easy and quick to cook. The worst thing that can happen when cooking fish is to overcook it, but with a little bit of attention, that can be avoided. Whenever you are cooking fish, remove it from the heat a few minutes before you think it's going to be done. For example if you think it will take 10 minutes to cook, just take it off after 8 or 9 minutes and check the middle with a fork. In just a matter of minutes your fish can go from nicely cooked and moist to dry and tasteless.
Another good tip when following a recipe for a fish dish is to check the thickness of the fish. Thicker fish fillets are going to take longer to cook, whereas the thinner ones are going to be done within minutes. As a matter of fact, when I made this recipe I was cooking two fillets of different thickness and it took one about 8-10 minutes to cook and the other one 12-15. If I left the thinner one on the grill for longer it would've turned rubbery and dry.
Thyme is my favorite herb to use when cooking fish. I like rosemary as well, but I find it a bit more overpowering especially for delicate fish like cod, flounder, snapper, haddock or tilapia. The vegetable matignon adds a lot of color, flavor and texture to this dish making it even more appealing for the ones who find cod a bit bland. You can also choose to add a tablespoons of vegetable stock along with the lemon juice to make it extra moist. I served this dish with fondant potatoes (recipe coming soon), but you can serve it with butter sautéed carrots or sweet peas, rice or even grilled vegetables. Enjoy!
BAKED COD WITH VEGETABLE MATIGNON
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
- 2 cod fillets (about 1 lb)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
- 1 medium lemon, juiced (about 3-4 TBS fresh lemon juice)
- 2 lemon slices (1/4 inch thick)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 TBS stock (vegetable or chicken) - optional
- Preheat oven or grill to 400F (200C) degrees.
- Pat fillets dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on each side.
- Lay out two, one-foot long aluminum foil sheets. Sprinkle the middle of the foil with a bit of olive oil and then place one fish fillet on each sheet. Sprinkle more olive oil on the fish.
- Top fillets with diced vegetables, lemon juice, lemon slice and thyme. If you choose to add stock, fold the foil upwards and sprinkle each fillet with a tablespoon of stock.
- Fold the edges of the foil to form enclosed packets.
- Place the packets in the oven on a baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes. If using the grill place the packets straight on the wire rack, close the cover and bake for about 10-15 minutes as well.
- After 10 minutes, open the packets carefully to avoid burning yourself with the hot steam that built up inside the packets. If the fish is undone, continue cooking. Serve in open foil packets to avoid spilling the delicious juices. Eat as soon as you cooked it, as fish doesn't reheat well.