One Pot Cod

Shopping at the Farmers Market on Saturday, my head was all over cooking for the Super Bowl, so I limited myself to the bacon and sausage I ordered at Fatted Calf for the Bacon Explosion, eggs, and some pea greens and Bok Choi shoots that I came across. I was well stocked with onions and potatoes.

cod recipe

Wednesday afternoon, I looked up from working on my Income Tax and posed the magical question, “What’s for dinner.” The answer at a time like that is most usually, “fish.” Fish is easy and quick to prepare and I like to buy it fresh on the day I’ll cook it. Looking for inspiration in the Fish and Seafood zone of my cooking files, I came across “cod potatoes greens.” I have potatoes and greens so all I need is the cod. I especially liked the idea of using my unusual greens with this simple dish.

I got the recipe from the Boston Globe back in ought-eight… I think son Brian emailed it to me as he reads the Globe on line pretty regularly for news of the Red Sox and Patriots. It was in a group of recipes called “One Pot Wonders.” Here’s what the introduction had to say:

Alice Miller’s two boys don’t like fish. But the real estate agent, who lives with her sons in Beverly Farms, loves to cook and to experiment with recipes; she has made this one with scallops and with lobster, as well as cod. The reason she finds one-pot cooking appealing is simple: “I hate to do dishes.” Miller makes a smaller version of this recipe, usually for herself and a friend. With only two plates, there’s even less cleanup.

Now I don’t really hate to do dishes, but I do like the simplicity of one pot cooking. She says she does a smaller version for, “herself and a friend,” but I prefer to do the whole recipe using less fish, then I can eat the leftovers with sausage or something as a change of pace.


Start by getting out your Black Cod. Rinse it and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. While you’re cooking, it will come to room temperature. I was lucky enough to find Black Cod at Whole Food –  in fresh today. Love Black Cod. I did a Mark Bittman recipe for Black Cod broiled with Miso last week, but they didn’t have Black Cod then, so I used what they call True Cod; good but not great. (More on that later.)


What we have is a build-up of layers starting with onions and fennel – I love fennel – sautéed in olive oil, and cooked until soft.


Add a can of drained diced tomatoes and cook that for about 10 minutes. Someone told me – in the canned tomato relm – not to use diced tomatoes, but rather to use San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes and chop them yourself or just break them up with a wooden spoon while cooking. Better tomatoes. In this case, I had diced so I used diced.


Take your potatoes out of their soaking water – soaking in water keeps them from discoloring – and dry with paper towels.


Lay down your sliced potatoes, add broth and cook another 10 minutes or until nearly done. The recipe said 3 medium Yukon Gold, but I had small French red, so I used 6. Lay on the fish that has been sitting around enjoying and absorbing its seasonings. Place the greens on top of the fish, cover and cook until the greens are wilted and the fish cooked through, about 10 more minutes.

Now, deconstruct:
Lay the greens around the edge of a plate, put a piece of fish in the center and arrange your potato mixture around it. Repeat.

Make the sauce.

Make the sauce.


Remove whatever is left to a bowl, leaving enough juice for saucing, add butter, salt and pepper to the skillet and heat to reduce a bit. Sauce the plates.

one pot cod, potatoes and greens, served

one pot cod, potatoes and greens, served

Oh boy… good stuff.

Here’s the Boston Globe article, recipe and my cook’s notes.

The Boston Globe ONE-POT WONDERS
Cod with Swiss Chard and Potatoes
February 17, 2008

Alice Miller’s two boys don’t like fish. But the real estate agent, who lives with her sons in Beverly Farms, loves to cook and to experiment with recipes; she has made this one with scallops and with lobster, as well as cod. The reason she finds one-pot cooking appealing is simple: “I hate to do dishes.” Miller makes a smaller version of this recipe, usually for herself and a friend. With only two plates, there’s even less cleanup.


2 1 1/2-pound skinless cod fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced and set aside in a bowl of water
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped fresh basil (optional)

Rinse the cod, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon over the fillets and set the fish aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and fennel, season with salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes and simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes – Remove the potato slices from the water, dry them on paper towels, and arrange them on top of the tomato mixture. Season with more salt and pepper, add the chicken broth, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Lay the cod fillets on top of the potatoes and put the Swiss chard on top of the fish. Cover again and cook until the chard is wilted and the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and divide the chard among 6 plates. Divide the fish into portions and place on top of the chard, then divide and arrange the potatoes around the fish.
Put the pan back on the heat, add the butter to the sauce, and stir to mix. Reduce for about 2 minutes, then adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add basil, if using, to the sauce, stir to mix, and spoon over the fish. Serve immediately.

Cook’s notes:
Cooked 2.11
– with Black Cod, bok choi sprouts. One of those days I didn’t think about what’s for dinner until mid-afternoon… fish is always good. The bok choi sprouts are quite stemmy but the stems are tender and even tasty. The cod had a number of pin bones, but not strong ones… overall real good and a balanced meal.

Cooked 4.09 – How lucky am I? When I saw the cod at Whole Food, I thought of this very dish, and guess what… I had both Swiss Chard and Fennel on hand. Good again. And… the LO were particularly good. Once for lunch – cod and stuff… Once again, the stuff with noodles. Yum.

Cooked a LO Flank Steak version of this 3.08 – good n EZ

Cooked 3.08 with a 14 ounce True Cod Fillet and kale. – also good n EZ. Didn’t have any fennel and threw in some pitted black olives. High vegetable/liquid ratio to fish, but that’s OK. Carol sez, “You can make the LO into soup.” True enuf

4 thoughts on “One Pot Cod

  1. I’m a bit surprised that you, an ex-New Englander (and possibly once-owner of an “I Got Scrod At Legal Seafood” tee shirt), didn’t point out that Black Cod isn’t really “cod” at all, but an Antarctic species that has recently been exploited now that Atlantic cod is quite scarce and expensive. Black Cod is no more cod than Chilean Sea Bass (actually the Patagonian/Antarctic Toothfish, which doesn’t automatically inspire culinary interest) is a bass. I’m sure Black Cod it tastes great, and perhaps it works better with your One Pot recipe than cod does, but I believe there is no such thing as “True Cod” – there is cod, and then there are other fish species, some of which may have had the word “cod” used to describe it, but are not at all the same fish. So I ask you to drop the “True” from your cod because all cooks should know that “cod” is always true unless there’s another word modifying it.


  2. Yes, and I read the book Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky, and I’ve been a long time on the left coast.
    I cop to being a victim of marketing and Mark Bittman. Here’s what Mark Bittman has to say about Black Cod (not mentioned above, because I intend to do another cod story):
    “Black cod, also known as sablefish, is a North Pacific fish that has long been smoked. When I was growing up, it was thought of as the rich person’s equivalent of lox, and purchased an eighth of a pound at a time. It is perhaps the richest tasting finfish, not unlike swordfish in density but meltingly tender, almost buttery.”
    At Whole Food, where I do most of my fish shopping – when Shogun isn’t open at the Market – they don’t do just “cod” or even Atlantic Cod or Pacific Cod. They do Black Cod, Rock Cod, True Cod and so on. Their seafood department is big and does fast turnover, so the fish is fresh, and Praise Cod, I haven’t had a bad one.

    “Rare is the cod that is hurt by broiling, boiling, deep-frying or sautéing.” Molly O’Neill NYT


  3. As your lone New England rep these days, I feel a duty to keep you in line when treading on things NE…I also enjoy Mr. Bittman’s food writing (I just purchased “How To Cook Everything” for Alison), but according to Wikipedia Mark Bittman is mistaken — “sablefish” is sometimes also referred to as Black Cod, but even in the vague world of marketing seafood, Sablefish is just that, and Black Cod comes from South America. Based on my former profession as a seafood marketer, these days Black Cod is a far South Pacific fish that’s caught in very deep waters. The “butteriness” of the flesh comes from it’s need to store fat for buoyancy due to a lack of a swim bladder (that means the species is ANCIENT — the swim bladder in fish being the progenitor to land creatures lungs).


  4. Looks awesome! We still have some fish from my deep sea fishing expedition and we have been looking for interesting ways to prepare. I think we’ll try this tomorrow! Thanks!


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