Although fish has never been one of my favourite foods, this trip to New Zealand and the Kiwi dependence on fish and chips as a fast food while travelling is changing all that. Rather than just taking the scoop of chips, I’m a fully paid up member of the battered fish-eating fraternity now. While I’m content to leave the cooking of fish and chips to the chippers around the country, I have decided that it’s time that I learned how to cook fish myself – especially given the largesse of the seas around New Zealand.
Saturday night was designated fish night this week but we were nearly thwarted from the outset when the great fishmongers shop in town turned out to be closed and the place we thought was a fishmongers wasn’t. Thankfully we eventually managed to get our hands on some cod from Akaroa, a small fishing village near Christchurch, before we had to retire home and then there was only the job of figuring out how to cook it!
With a nod to Nigel Slater’s recent Grilled Monkfish with Lemon Thyme in the Observer Food Monthly, I decided to cook the cod with a thyme oil made in my new, perfect pestle and mortar. But, rather than grilling or frying it, I made my life much easier by baking the cod – less fishy cooking smells that way – and the experiment was a success! The thyme oil gave the cod a lovely, herby flavour and it was a fabulous dish served with Roasted Vegetables and on top of Creamy Lentils with Bacon.
Cod with Thyme Oil
Cod – 2 x 200g fillets
Fresh thyme – a handful
Peppercorns – 10
Sea salt – ½ teaspoon
Olive oil – 3 tablespoons approx
Shuck the thyme leaves from the stems and put them into a mortar. Add the peppercorns and salt and crush well. Add the olive oil and mix well. Rub the thyme oil into the cod then place in an oven dish. Roast at 200°C/400°F for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through.