Tricolore! Salsa Verde! Arugula, cod and peppers

Saying things in Italian is just more fun. I don’t know if it’s from watching A Fish Called Wanda so many times or because Italian waiters are always happy to bring you olives and bread and limoncello. Even when they’re sad, they’re still trying to give you limoncello. Or maybe it’s just a very fun language, but pretending to speak Italian makes me giddy. Especially if it’s one or two words related to food. Which is why saying “salsa verde!” makes me happy, as well as “tricolore!” but not arugula. I think it’s because it’s what they call it in America anyway so it’s just arugula not “arugula!”. American waiters never give you limoncello; they give you coffee re-fills and ask if you’re “all set” but they never give you free shots at the end of dinner. Unless you’re in an Italian restaurant.

I should get to “il senso!”. This is perfect for a summer lunch and takes no time at all. Just pre-heat the oven and get to work while the cod cooks. There’s something inexplicably great about this dish. I suppose if I were trying to explain it in a non inexplicable way I would talk about the salty tang from the salsa verde juxtaposed with the sweet cod and earthy peppers. But that’s all very boring. This is good and you should eat it.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 red pepper

2 cod fillets

2 large handfuls of rocket

1 small bunch of parsley

3 garlic cloves

10 anchovy fillets

1 heaped tablespoon of capers

1 tsp of chilli flakes

1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

1 lemon

2 tbsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil ( I like anything from arbequina olives)


  • Cut the pepper in half and de-seed. On a gas stove, set a ring to a medium heat. Rest the red peppers on the open flame, turning occasionally so that all sides are cooked.
  • Preheat your oven to 160 degrees fan or 180 conventional. When hot, place the cod in foil, season and squeeze a little lemon. Wrap the foil so as to make a parcel. Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, finely dice the garlic and finely chop the anchovies, capers and parsley, then add the juice of the lemon and the zest of half. Cling film the salsa verde and put in the fridge.
  • When the peppers are soft and the skin is charred, remove from the heat and wrap in foil. Leave for 10 minutes then remove the rest of the skin. I do this with my hands but be careful not to burn yourself.
  • Remove the cod from the oven and leave to rest in the foil for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile dress the rocket in balsamic vinegar and a tiny drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
    Cut the peppers into managable pieces, I third the halves.
  • Then assemble on a plate. Scatter the rocket. Place the fish on top of the peppers and cover everything with good dousing of salsa verde.

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