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Cod with Aioli and Heirloom Tomatoes

Servings: 2 people
Author: Dinner in French by Melissa Clark

Ingredients

AIOLI:

  • 1 to 3 garlic cloves (I used 3), finely minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ cup mild olive oil

COD AND TOMATOES:

  • 1 to 2 heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Good olive oil, as needed
  • 2 cod fillets, about 6 oz each, patted dry and any pin bones removed if necessary
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Half a lemon, thinly sliced
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving
  • Pieces of torn baguette, for serving

Instructions

AIOLI:

  • Combine the garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and let the mixture sit for a minute or two to mellow the garlic. Add the egg and egg yolk and process until combined.
  • With the machine running, drizzle the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Slow is the name of the game here. You want this to be painfully slow for the first 30 seconds or so, just until you see some emulsion happening. After that happens, you speed up your stream, but just slightly. Keep pouring the oil until the mixture emulsifies and thickens like, well, mayonnaise. If the aioli is looking very thick and you have more oil left, quicken your pour and get it all in there. The whole process of streaming olive oil will take between 60 and 90 seconds. Taste for acid and seasoning, I found I wanted more lemon juice and salt each time I made it. If you add more salt and/or lemon juice, just pulse the processor quickly to incorporate it.

COD AND TOMATOES:

  • In a wide, shallow bowl (I used a pie plate), arrange the tomatoes in a semi-single layer. Season with kosher salt and then drizzle them with olive oil to taste. Let them sit while you prepare the fish.
  • Preheat your oven to 400℉.
  • Place the cod fillets on a rimmed baking sheet, then season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Drizzle them with olive oil - don’t drench them, just drizzle. Top the fish with the thyme sprigs, then place lemon slices over the thyme.
  • Roast until the fish is just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size. I have never needed more than 10 minutes for them to be perfectly cooked. When done, remove the lemon slices and thyme sprigs.
  • Use a slotted spoon to evenly divide the tomato wedges between 2 dinner plates. Place a piece of cod over the tomatoes. Liberally dollop the cod and tomatoes with the aioli, then drizzle some pooled tomato juices over each piece of fish. Sprinkle the torn basil over the fish, then serve immediately with bread for mopping.

Notes

Recipe is sourced from Dinner in French by Melissa Clark. I would not have bought yet another cookbook on French cooking in the year 2020 had it not been written by Clark. I was right to make the exception. This cookbook delivers. I initially made this recipe with zero intent on blogging it, but one bite changed my mind. Everything is straightforward, just follow the directions exactly. I am halving this recipe to serve 2 as that’s how I made it, but double it for 4 if you need to. Make sure you serve a bowl of torn pieces of baguette to dip and drag through the tomato juice-aioli mixture that pools on your plate. Enjoy this incredible, romantic-if-you-want-it-to-be meal that can’t help but transport you to the South of France. (And what American wouldn’t rather be there than here in 2020?)