Atlantic cod was significantly endangered a few years back due to over fishing and other non-sustainable fishing practices. The good news is that it is making a comeback in many areas and is once again a responsible option for the table. It is a firm fleshed, meaty white fish and any similar species - such as pollock, haddock or whiting - would work equally well in this recipe. It is important in both the recipes featured on this page that the fillet be skinless and where necessary, you may wish to ask for the skin to be removed for you at the point of purchase.
Bacon wrapped baked cod is served on a bed of roasted Mediterranean vegetables
The cod fillet purchased for this recipe weighed in at just over fifteen ounces, far too large for surely all but the hungriest of people. It was therefore cut in half and the second piece was used in the preparation of the additional bonus recipe featured further down this page.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 6 to 8 ounce skinless cod loin fillet
- 6 ounces mixed roasting vegetables*
- Generous pinch of dried basil
- Generous pinch of dried oregano
- Salt and black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 strips bacon (smoked streaky bacon in UK), or as required
*Vegetables include bell peppers, zucchini (courgette), red onion and cherry tomatoes. Bought supermarket prepared as part of a 12 ounce tray with half the quantity set aside for later use.
Start your oven preheating to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
Season the vegetables in their foil cooking tray (any small roasting/baking tray can be used as a substitute) with the dried herbs, salt and pepper. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of the extra virgin olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon to ensure so far as possible that the seasonings and oil are evenly dispersed. Put the tray in to the oven for half an hour, removing it to give the vegetables a careful stir half way through the cooking time.
Lay the strips of bacon out side by side on a chopping board, very slightly overlapping. You may need fewer or more strips, depending upon the size and shape of your cod fillet. Lay the fillet presentation side down (former skin side up) in the center of the bacon strips as shown in the image. Season with a little black pepper only (the bacon already contains all the salt required).
One side at a time, fold the edges of the bacon up and over the fillet and ensure that it is fully wrapped.
Drizzle a little olive oil in to the base of a suitably sized casserole dish and lay in the wrapped fillet, open folds side down. Drizzle with a little more oil, season with some more black pepper and put the lid on the dish. Bake for twenty minutes, timing it to be ready at the same time as the vegetables.
Take the casserole dish from the oven and use a large slotted spoon or spatula to lift the wrapped fillet to a chopping board. Slice in half from one corner to its opposite corner with a very sharp knife.
A slotted spoon is best used to lift the roasted vegetables to a deep serving plate and spread them out to form a bed for the cod and bacon.
Lift the cod pieces on to the vegetables and serve immediately.
Baked Cod in Chunky Vegetables and Tomato Sauce
This is a slightly different way of baking cod - essentially in the form of a casserole - and the recipe was devised as a means of using the second piece of the original cod fillet, as well as the remaining mixed vegetables.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 6 to 8 ounce skinless cod fillet
- 6 ounces mixed prepared vegetables
- 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
- ½ medium red chili
- 1 large garlic clove
- Salt and black pepper
- Hard cheese to grate as garnish
Put your oven on to heat up to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
Pour the tomatoes in to a large bowl and add the vegetables. Seed and finely dice the chili before adding it to the bowl and peel and grate in the garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper and stir well with a wooden spoon.
Pour or spoon half the tomato and vegetable combination in to a casserole dish. Season the cod fillet on both sides with salt and pepper and lay it on top of the sauce.
Spoon the rest of the sauce over the fish that it is completely submerged. Put the lid on the dish and place it in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillet).
When the cod is cooked, use a slotted spoon to lift it from the vegetables and sauce to a temporary holding plate.
Use the slotted spoon again to lift the vegetables and as much of the liquid sauce as is required to a deep serving plate before sitting the cod on top.
A freshly chopped herb such as basil or parsley could be used as a garnish for this dish but in this instance, English Double Gloucester cheese was grated over the top instead. Any similar hard cheese - such as cheddar - would work equally well.