At a local grocery store yesterday, I discovered that shoppers had completely emptied the trays for pork and chicken at the meat counter. When I asked if there were any of these products in reserve, the young butcher politely replied, “No, maybe tomorrow morning.” Then I glanced over at the fresh seafood section adjacent to the meat department, and saw that it was surprisingly well stocked. I ordered some cod fillets, and then made a quick tour of the store, adding to my cart a large bag of pre-washed spinach, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a couple of lemons, and a can of chickpeas. I had a recipe in mind for dinner.
Roasted cod on a bed of spinach, tomatoes, and chickpeas, a delicious all-in-one main course, is a recipe I have shared several times on this blog. It checks off several boxes for me—it calls for easily found ingredients, takes less than an hour from start to finish (20 minutes to prep and 20 or more minutes in the oven), and perhaps most important right now, it’s healthy.
Although cod fillets are delicious, halibut, hake, or other firm fish fillets also work. The fillets are arranged atop a bed of baby spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, and chick- peas, all layered on a large rimmed baking sheet. A touch of minced garlic and chopped black olives (both of which I had in my fridge), add extra flavor.Line
When roasted, the fish, scented generously with lemon, is moist, while the spinach and tomatoes wilt and meld into a vibrant mélange. Here’s hoping everyone is keeping safe, staying well, and eating healthily!
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Roasted Cod on a Bed of Spinach, Chickpeas, and Tomatoes
8 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the baking dish
2 lemons to yield 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp grated zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 oz pre-washed baby spinach
4 tsp minced garlic
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or 8 to 10 oz plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise
1 cup chickpeas (1/2 of a 15.5 oz can), rinsed and drained well
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
4 fish fillets (cod, halibut, or other mild firm white fish), about 1-inch thick and 6 to 7 oz each
1/4 cup panko crumbs, optional
1/2 cup crumbled feta, or goat cheese, optional
1.Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil, and oil the foil.
2.Whisk together 5 tablespoons of the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a small nonreactive bowl.
3.Toss spinach in a large bowl with 3 remaining tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on the baking sheet. Sprinkle garlic over the spinach, and top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with chickpeas and olives. Drizzle half the lemon/olive oil mixture over the vegetables.
4.Arrange fish on top of vegetables and drizzle with remaining lemon/olive oil mixture. If desired, sprinkle some panko crumbs over each fish fillet.
5.Roast until fish is opaque and flakes easily, and spinach has wilted, 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Mound vegetable mixture in shallow bowls, and top each serving with a fish fillet. If desired, sprinkle with some feta. Serves 4.
Adapted from Sunday Casseroles (Chronicle 2011) by Betty Rosbottom