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Have a little wine with your cod

Vin shares a delectable recipe for garlic-lemon baked cod with kale, tomatoes, and olives and some suggestions for beverages to pair with it
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Earlier this year, I was looking for a good recipe for cod or other white-fleshed fish such as halibut or haddock and came upon this recipe from the Holiday 2016 issue of the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine. Authored by Jennifer MacKenzie, it proved to be simple and delicious. Cooking time itself is basically under 30 minutes, but add in prep time and you may be looking at roughly an hour start to finish.

As presented, the recipe is intended to serve six. Adjust to suit your needs. One thing we discovered in the process of preparing everything the first couple of times is that it was a stretch to have enough of the dressing to carry through to the finish. We now double it, preferring to have sufficient to serve amply. What’s left can always be used on a tossed salad if you like. The dressing ingredients below reflect that “doubling.” – you can find the original ingredient amounts on the LCBO’s Food and Drink website if you wish.

Here, then, is how we deal with this delicious recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest, divided
  • 8 to 10 cups trimmed kale, coarsely chopped and lightly packed
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 to two pounds of skinless cod fillets. (The original recipe suggest cutting it into 6 portions; we prefer to leave the fillets whole and portion them out after cooking.)
  • 2 cups of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of dry-cured black olives (You could use whatever style you like –we like our pitted, and usually go with the black or Kalamata olives.)
  • 1 lemon, cut into12 wedges.

Method

  1. Put a rack in the middle of the oven and then pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Combine garlic, roughly ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest in a large bowl. Spoon 4 tbsp. of the mixture into a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Now add the kale and onion to the garlic mixture remaining in the large bowl, and toss to coat. Use tongs to transfer the kale-onion mixture to the baking sheet, leaving the excess oil mixture in the large bowl. Spread the kale mixture in an even layer.
  4. Roast the kale in the oven for 5 to10 minutes, or just until the kale is wilted and starting to brown. As soon as it is wilted, remove the kale from the oven.
  5. While the kale is wilting, brush the fish with the reserved 4 tbsp. of garlic mixture in the small bowl. Then add the remaining oil and lemon zest, the tomatoes, olives, and lemon wedges to the large bowl and toss to coat.
  6. Having removed the baking sheet with the kale from the oven, arrange the fish on top of the kale, spacing evenly. Scatter the tomato mixture around the fish, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for 12 to 18 minutes, or until the fish just flakes with a fork and the tomatoes start to split. Using a large lifter, transfer the fish, kale and vegetables to plates warmed if preferred – and serve.

P.S. Jennifer MacKenzie suggested that you could also crumble Feta on the fish in the last few minutes of cooking. Sounds like a great idea.

I am always interested in finding good recipes that are tasty and relatively easy to prepare. If you have something you would like to share, please send your favourites to vinonwine@gmail.com. Thanks for reading, and for your help.

With this cod recipe, you might get away with using a light red. The September issue of Britain’s Decanter magazine included the Cantina di Negrar Corvina from the Veneto as a “top seasonal buy.” They call it “light-hearted, easygoing fare, with juicy cherry and fresh herbal flavours.” In Britain, it can be found for between 9.5 and 11 pounds –basically about $17. At our LCBO stores, you can pick it up for $8.15!

On the Oct. 3 release, the Calvet Pinot Blanc 2018, $14.95, from Alsace would be a fine choice with the cod. It is fresh, lively and persistent with a good citrus character. Also, $14.95 on the same release is the Chateau La Rose Du Pin Blanc 2018, bearing a score of 90 from the Wine Enthusiast. It is balanced, fruity, and crisp.

September 19 Vintages Release

Ken Forrester Petit Rosé 2019, $13.95 is a South African Grenache-based rosé made from fruit grown on 15-year-old vines, and so it will have some character. Expect good strawberry/raspberry flavour with a good citrus lift on the finish.

Waterkloof Circle of Life 2016, $19.95, is a South African blend of Sauvignon Blanc supported by Chenin Blanc with some Chardonnay. Tim Atkin tells us that it is “leesy, grapefruity and tangy with citrus and apple fruit.” – 95.

Layers Shiraz/Tempranillo/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2017, $16.95, is an intriguing Australian blend that Vintages explains is “plush, forward, complex, soft and silky, with ripe dark fruit, earth, dried herbs, spice and chocolate tones – layers, indeed!”

Campania’s Villa Matilde Rocca Dei Leoni Aglianco 2016, $18.95 was awarded a 90 by respected writer Anthony Dias Blue who found it “dense, earthy, and ripe; fresh and long.”

October 3 Vintages Release

La Fleur de François Brut Crémant de Bordeaux, $16.95, took Gold at the Concours de Bordeaux last year. This sparkling wine made in the traditional method associated with Champagne has the classic toasty “Brioche” nose along with apple and citrus elements.

Thierry Delaunay Le Grand Ballon Sauvignon Blanc 2019, $14.95, is a must-try from France’s Loire Valley. Vintages suggests it is “elegant and fresh with an easy-to-enjoy, broad appeal. It has citrus, gooseberry and stone fruit notes atop a wet-stone minerality.”

Spain’s Donimio De La Granadilla Verdejo 2018, $17.95, has the approval of Steve Thurlow of winealign.com, who tells us it is “mid-weight and intensely flavoured with a rich creamy texture and excellent length.” -90.

Patrick Galant Cairanne 2017, $16.95, is a Côtes du Rhône Villages red blend that Decanter says is “juicy, vivid and succulent…Authentic, vivacious, drinkable and exciting." -95.

Marquès de Cáceres Excellens Cuvée Especial Crianza 2016, $17.95, has a mouthful of a name, but it is also a great mouthful of wine. Winespectator.com calls it both bold, harmonious and expressive, referencing black cherry, mint and graphite elements along with “firm tannins and lively acidity.” -92.