Weeknight dinners have been a struggle lately. Between unpacking from the move, fighting what seems like the tenth cold of the season and wrangling two needy little humans, meal prepping has been relegated to the proverbial back burner. No pun intended. 6 pm rolls around all too quickly these days, and I often find myself without a plan. And so ensues the mad rush to get dinner on the table before we enter the dreaded meltdown mode. It’s the witching hour, when even the simplest tasks feel like heroic feats. We have been eating a lot of eggs lately — my go-to fast food. I have also been making a lot of one pan meals comprised of simple ingredients tossed together in a pan, placed in the oven and forgotten about for the duration of cooking. Fuss-free and easy cleanup — exactly what a harried weeknight calls for.
This roasted cod has been in regular rotation the last month. Its depth of flavor belies its utter simplicity, thanks to an arsenal of pantry staples that go a long way here. I always have shallots, lemons, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes on hand, and they provide the perfect foil to the mild cod. Sustainable cod has been readily available lately, and its tender texture is conducive to puréeing for 7 month old Max. I purée a portion of this entire recipe, and he loves it.
Roasting fish requires a healthy dose of good fat, in my opinion, to prevent it from drying it out. This recipe calls for a generous amount of olive oil, some of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of ghee or butter to top it off — a delicious trifecta. Don’t skimp on the fats here! A sprinkling of thyme and fresh parsley round out the flavors, but feel free to omit or substitute according to what you have on hand. This recipe is quite adaptable. Swap in leeks for the shallots, olives for the sun-dried tomatoes, tarragon for the thyme, char for the cod. Think of this recipe as a blueprint — the possibilities are endless. You’ll have dinner ready in under 30 minutes and instantly elevate your weeknight dinners.
Such simple meals are what I’m drawn to lately, not only for their ease but also for their clean flavor. Spring produce is slowly making its way to the markets here, but I’m already in spring cooking mode. To me, spring cooking is about letting simple, delicate ingredients shine. I plan on sharing more simple, weekday recipes in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. Would you like to see more recipes featuring fish and/or meat? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- 4 cod fillets (about 6 oz. each), preferably wild/sustainable
- 4 handfuls of baby spinach (about 4 cups)
- 2 small shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, oil reserved
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp reserved sun-dried tomato oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (from approx. 1/2 a lemon)
- 1 tbsp ghee or butter
- 2 tsp lemon zest to garnish
- Fresh thyme and parsley to garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Pat cod fillets dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Drizzle the bottom of a 9×13 inch roasting pan with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Toss in the spinach, shallots and sun-dried tomatoes. Drizzle spinach mixture with 2 tbsp of olive oil, the sun-dried tomato oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place seasoned cod fillets atop spinach mixture. Drizzle cod with remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil and dot the fillets with the ghee or butter. Top each fillet with a sprig of fresh thyme.
- Roast until fish is opaque throughout and slightly firm to the touch — about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Sprinkle lemon zest and fresh parsley over the cod filets.
- To serve, spoon a bit of the spinach sauce over each fillet. This recipe pairs nicely with rice, quinoa or roasted potatoes. Enjoy!