I never wanted to cook when I was a kid. In my family it was expected that girls would learn to how to cook and help their mothers and take care of families someday. I quickly recognized this tasty trap of domesticity and made myself scarce. But I loved to eat. I truly earned my childhood nickname “Three Helpings Genie.” My love of food eventually brought me back to the kitchen.
When I first started cooking I could spend all day making multi-course meals. I was thinner then with loads more time. After starting a family I began to embrace one pot meals, the haunting allure of melding flavor coupled with only needing to wish one pot.
Outside of the de riguer soups and stews, I love the elegance of cod in tomato broth. Inspired by a martha stewart recipe I make my own version when the summer is overloaded with tomatoes and the basil flows like wine. I made this meal in early spring after that brutal winter when I wanted to remind myself that summer was coming. Well now summer is here. Steal those cherry tomatoes and grab handfuls of basil.
Cod In Tomato Broth
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 medium red or vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
8 ounces fingerling potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (small red-skinned potatoes are a good choice as well as those adorable tiny blue Dutch potatoes)
3 sprigs basil, plus fresh basil leaves for garnish (I love to use purple basil in this for the beautiful color, but you cannot go wrong with julienned emerald green leaves of genovese basil)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 skinless cod fillets (4 ounces each)
4 ounces fresh or frozen peas (snap peas would be lovely)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (you could use lime, I won’t tell)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (not optional so delicious)
Bring broth, onion, 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, potatoes, basil sprigs, red pepper flakes, and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a large, deep skillet with a lid. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Season cod with salt and pepper, add to broth mixture, and cover. Simmer until fish is opaque throughout and just cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Remove and discard basil sprigs. Add peas, remaining 1/2 cup tomatoes, and lemon juice to skillet, gently stirring to combine; cook just until warmed through. Make sure your peas are cooked if using frozen. Divide fish, vegetables, and broth among 4 bowls. Garnish with basil leaves, drizzle with oil.
Be inspired by Four Fish by Paul Greenberg and have your mind blown between bites. I just started this book on the tracing the history and production of the major fish eaten in America and I already admire his passion and openness as he takes the reader on his journey.
recipe inspired by Martha Stewart Living, May 2013