Saturday, March 13, 2010

Baked Cod with Roasted Vegetables

Those of you who read this blog frequently know how much I love to bake. My passion for this method of food preparation is not only based on my predilection for cookies, pies and cakes. Baking also provides a controlled and predictable method of preparation that is conducive to entertaining.

Some dishes are decidedly difficult to make for guests. If you’ve ever tried to prepare
risotto for a crowd, you’re familiar with the challenges of “entertaining while stirring”. Of course one can make a dish in advance (a curry, chili or soup for example) but reheating can present its own challenges (overheating or underheating) and it often requires attention soon after your guests have arrived. For a dinner party, one is often preparing several dishes at once and ensuring that all items are at the right temperature just before serving can be a mighty challenge even for an experienced cook.

For all these reasons, I appreciate baked entrees. They come out of the oven hot, require minimal handling, and fill the house with a delicious aroma. Some of my favorite baked entrees include
lasagna, frittata, pizza and stuffed vegetables. While all of these make lovely meals, my fiancé and I have been searching for more ‘sophisticated’ baked entrées to serve to dinner guests.

We especially like to serve fish for dinner, but have had less than ideal experiences grilling fish on our
George Foreman Grill or searing scallops in a skillet. They have both created fishy smoke in our poorly ventilated Manhattan apartment. Having experimented with a few baked fish recipes, we came up with this one which we recently served to our friends Andrew and Andrew.

Serves 4

1 head of garlic, peeled
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and sliced or baby carrots
1 zucchini, sliced
1 or 2 red peppers, sliced into strips
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into eighths
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cod or hake fillets (approximately 2 lbs total) - you can substitute another light, white fish
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch parsley for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. In a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, toss first five ingredients with most of the olive oil.

3. On the middle rack, bake vegetables for 30-40 minutes until slightly roasted.
4. Place fish fillets on top of vegetables and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Return dish to oven for 20-30 more minutes.
6. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.