Poaching cod in olive oil enhances the creamy nature of the fish and helps cook it evenly and slowly so it does not dry out. The end result is luscious. Cod has a low fat content, and in other preparations, it can run the risk of drying out during cooking. As you will need quite a bit of olive oil for this recipe, a moderately priced brand from the grocery store will work just fine.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
- 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 2 dried bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 skinless cod fillets (each about 6 ounces and 1½ to 2 inches thick)
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a straight-sided sauté pan just large enough to hold the cod in 1 layer, combine the oil, lemon zest, tarragon, bay leaves, and pepper flakes. Heat over medium low until the oil reaches 200°F. on an oil/candy thermometer.
- Season the cod with salt and pepper and gently place in the oil in a single layer, making sure the cod is completely submerged in the oil. Poach until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets. Remove from the heat and let the cod cool in the oil for 5 minutes, to firm the fillets and make them easier to remove from the pan.
- Remove the fillets with a slotted fish spatula and serve with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.