A quick, light fish dish that delivers maximum flavour impact
This dish relies on balancing the elements of taste: the sweetness of cod; the bitter notes of endive leaves and nasturtium flowers; fiery ginger crisped for texture; and finally, the richness of aioli tempered by bitter-sweet saffron. All together it is a quick, light dish that delivers maximum flavour impact.
4 cod steaks, approx 200g each
100g peeled fresh ginger, sliced very thinly into matchsticks
125ml Pernod or other pastis
2 red or white chicory, leaves separated
12 nasturtium flowers
For the saffron aioli:
A pinch of saffron
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard
½ garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tsp moscatel vinegar
100ml vegetable oil
100ml extra virgin olive oil
To make the aioli, soak the saffron in 1 tbsp of warm water and set aside. Whisk together the yolk, mustard, garlic, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the oils, going slowly at first. Once all the oil has been incorporated, season and whisk in the saffron and its water.
Heat the oven to 180C. Pat dry the cod, then season on both sides. Get 2 tbsp olive oil very hot in a frying pan. Sit the cod steaks in, skin-side down, and cook for 3-4mins until the skin is golden. Turn over and give them another minute, then transfer skin-side up to a baking dish that can take them in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 5-6 mins.
Add more oil to the same frying pan if needed, get the oil hot again and quickly fry the ginger sticks until crisped, then use a slotted spoon to lift the ginger out and onto kitchen roll to absorb excess grease.
Whisk the butter and Pernod into the pan over a high heat for 30 seconds or so to deglaze its flavours and create a sauce. Arrange the chicory leaves and cod on plates, pour over the sauce, scatter over the crisped ginger and nasturtium flowers. Give it a grinding of pepper and serve with a spooning of saffron aioli.
Recipe: Angela Clutton