This supper takes only moments to prepare and minutes to cook. Yet its total yumminess belies its ease and simplicity. I’ve included a salsa verde here to serve with it; this isn’t necessary at all, but a lovely addition. I always have a batch of it in the freezer (as it goes, in my humble opinion, with absolutely everything…). Needless to say, freeze any excess in freezer bags.
The instructions here offer a few little suggestions and tweaks that can enhance this very basic recipe – feel free to get creative and mix things up!
1 leek per person
cooking oil of your choice
salt and pepper
1 cod portion per person
1 slice prosciutto per person (or smoked streaky bacon)
28g pack of basil
28g pack of mint
28g pack of parsley
juice and zest of ½ lemon
teaspoon of red wine vinegar
teaspoon of Dijon mustard
tablespoon of cornichons
tablespoon of capers
salt and pepper
150ml olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180°.
The above salsa verde recipe (to the best of my recollection) is Jamie Oliver’s. I first tried his recipe years ago and have been using it ever since. The quantities might be slightly different but I believe the ingredients are the same. As you would expect of Jamie, it’s fresh, zingy, and has a whopping great flavour!
Quite simply, strip the herbs from their stalks, and bung everything in a blender, or in a container suitable for using with a hand blender. (Reserve a few basil leaves for the cod). I find a slower churn is best here, as this won’t let the salsa become too smooth; a little texture is preferable.
Taste that you are happy with the seasoning, and set to one side.
Remove the exterior layer of each leek, top and tail, and rinse if needs be, removing any dirt.
Chop into thin rounds, approximately 3mm thick.
Strip the rosemary from its stalks and finely chop.
In a roasting tray toss the chopped leeks and rosemary with a tablespoon or two of cooking oil and some salt and pepper.
Roast in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the cod for the oven.
Pat each portion of cod dry on some kitchen paper. Season lightly with salt and pepper, remembering that prosciutto is rather salty. A basil leaf or two on each fillet is a nice touch, and if you feel so inclined, some chopped sundried tomatoes, and maybe even a smidge of tapenade if it’s to hand!
Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each portion of cod. (If you have streaky bacon instead, this too is lovely, simply place the bacon, one rasher at a time, between two sheets of greaseproof paper, and use a rolling pin to make it bigger and thinner).
Remove the leeks from the oven, and turn the oven up to 190°. Shake them about, and then gather them into the center of the baking tray, making a little bed for the cod. If the leeks are too far flung they will burn, rather than caramelise and sweetly soften.
Place the wrapped cod on top of the leeks, drizzle with a touch of olive oil, and return to the oven. Cook the fish for 8 minutes. (The cooking time here will depend on the thickness of the cod; 8 minutes is sufficient for portions 3cm thick, so adjust the cooking time accordingly).
In this accompanying picture I have added some sourdough crumb. If you have the time and inclination simply blitz stale sourdough, or use any old bread crumbs, and toss with a little slug of olive oil, a teaspoons or two of grated parmesan, some stripped thyme leaves, and salt and pepper. Scatter this over the cod half way through cooking. Another alternative for crunch is a sprinkling of pine nuts.
* This supper is on the lighter side. If you are after something heartier, perhaps bar-boil some new potatoes as the oven is preheating. Once almost cooked, drain and allow the steam to billow off, then half each potato if this hasn’t been done already, and mix and roast along with the leeks.
** If you have people over for supper, this recipe is very easy to prepare ahead. Roast the leeks for the first 12 minutes, and then allow to cool. Wrap the cod in the prosciutto and place on the bed of roasted and chilled leeks; this can be done up to 6 hours in advance. When ready to serve simple pop in a preheated oven and add a minute or two to your cooking time.