Monday, July 3, 2017

Cod on the Menu

I like fish. At least, most fish. My husband, on the other hand, does not. On very extremely rare occasions, we have gone for "fish & chips" together, and while he will eat the hugely battered piece of fish, he will opt to leave some fish and eat all the fried batter. So, we come down to the fact that I rarely eat fish, because if I am to cook a whole dinner for us both, I really hate to have to make two separate dinners.
Cod Fish Stew
Cod Fish Stew

And so we come to the fact that after his latest hospital scare, he is willing to go some lengths to prevent any more of what got him there in the first place. With that, diet is very important. And while he is hugely overweight, he has, until now, been unwilling to do anything about it. Food is his pleasure. Unfortunately, the range of foods he normally eats is very, very small. Since he came home from the hospital, he has been eating (mostly) what I give him to eat, and has even consented to eat half an acorn squash (generally a complete no-no), and even a piece of salmon (an absolute no-no), though he didn't care for it. (Truth be told, salmon is one kind of fish that I, myself, have to be in just the right "mood" to eat with any joy.)

Thinking about new ways to get something other than beef, pork, chicken or lamb into him, I remembered this fish stew recipe. It came, originally, from a book called "The F-Plan Diet," back in the early 1980s. I like white fish. I love cabbage and carrots. And that is what makes up the bulk of this recipe. I made it for myself way back then, and have made it only a very few times in the nearly 30 years with my husband. My reasoning was that if he doesn't like "fishy" fish, and while cabbage and carrots are not his favorites, as long as they're cooked, it might be acceptable, then he might just like this dish.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. 😒 

Cod Fish Stew
Cod Fish Stew
I made the dish, and the smell is (to me) just heavenly while it is cooking. I looked forward to dinner with relish. He took two bites and said, sorry, but he just could not eat it. Drat!

All that aside, it is still a most excellent dish. The flavors are really wonderful. The use of cloves and honey in this stew made me curious the first time I ever made it, but it just truly makes an excellent meal, if you happen to like white fish, cabbage and carrots. I used cod, because I love cod, but you could substitute any white fish that flakes easily. Haddock would be great. Sole, halibut or grouper can work. You choose.

Originally the recipe is called "Cold Fish Casserole." And while it is very tasty when cold, especially with a nice chunk of buttered French bread, we are not eating breads at this point in time, so that was not an option. Plus, I don't see much of "casserole" about this dish. It is cooked in a skillet. I see a casserole as something in a pot that generally goes in the oven. Semantics, maybe? To me, it is a stew. And so, I am renaming the dish. It is simple and goes together in no time. And, obviously, the fish cooks through in short order as well, so altogether, it can be served from start to finish in 30 to 40 minutes, max, depending on your speed in assembling and chopping vegetables.

Cod Fish Stew
Cod Fish Stew

Cod Fish Stew

Serves 2 to 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 or 2 carrots, shredded
½ small cabbage (4 - 5 cups), thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup fish or chicken stock, or water
1½ tablespoons honey
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cloves (truly!)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 pound white fish filet: cod, halibut, haddock
parsley for garnish

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook lightly for about 3 to 5 minutes, until wilted. Add in the carrots, cabbage, tomatoes and dill and using tongs preferable, toss the mixture to combine and continue tossing until the cabbage softens slightly, about 2 more minutes. Mix together the vinegar, stock and honey and pour this mixture over the cabbage mixture. Stir a bit, then nestle the fish filet(s) into the cabbage mixture and sprinkle the salt over all. Cover the skillet and cook on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fish easily flakes apart. Serve in bowls and garnish with parsley leaves. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at AHOFpin. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.