I am so excited to share this Curry Poached Cod & Roasted Bok Choy Salad with you. I know! A cod recipe on a blog named Rhubarb & Cod! What a notion. It’s downright revolutionary is what it is. A breakthrough of epic proportions. No wonder it took me so long.
For those of you who are joining us for the first time, I’m being exceptionally sarcastic. This Curry Poached Cod is the first cod recipe to grace this not-so-aptly named blog. No, this “oversight” was not born out of a “way cool” desire to defy expectation (my second post was a rhubarb recipe, for crying out loud), it is in large part due to a difference of opinion between my partner and me.
You see, I named my blog Rhubarb & Cod because both rhubarb and cod made frequent and welcomed appearances throughout my childhood. They were not so common nor as welcomed throughout my boyfriend’s. You might even say, the man hates seafood. This severely limits the amount of fish I cook, because I really don’t want to make something he won’t eat and I also don’t want to make two separate meals. It just feels too sad – like we’re not dinner compatible. So, every time he goes away on business, I find myself very conflicted. I’m sad to see him go, but I’m also excited to pillage my neighborhood fish market like there’s no tomorrow.
Now, I’ve been relatively embarrassed by my lack of cod recipes on this cod-referencing blog, so when Sunny hit the road last weekend, I made a b-line for the closest cod fillet. I was going to alleviate my cod-related guilt once and for all. But what would I do with it? I knew I would probably poach it. I adore poached fish and cod retains its shape so beautifully. But what to poach it in? Since I was eating a fish that was integral to my youth, I decided to look to my childhood for inspiration. Naturally, I landed on Thai food – I swear it makes some sense.
Once upon a time, I fell hard for Thai food – just like everyone else with a pulse in the early 2000s. Many of my teenage birthdays were marked with a takeout container of pad thai – I was quite the rebellious youth and SO popular. In the years following my “crazy” sweet sixteen, I discovered and crushed on numerous cuisines and eventually my fascination with Thai food faded into the background. But one culinary hangover remained from my fling, a fervent love of green curry. The number one reason I love green curry is because it makes everything it touches irresistible. Case in point: eggplant.
Eggplant and I have a complicated relationship. We have moments of great compatibility followed by lengthy periods of estrangement. There were moments in my life when I was quite enthusiastic about things like baba ganoush or moussaka, but they never lasted. It’s kind of like eating a banana; you start out really wanting it but by the time you’re halfway through it, you’re kind of over the texture. But when I come across eggplant in green curry, I’m always on board. In fact, I’m actually disappointed when it’s not included.
It should now be painfully clear why both eggplant and green curry are featured in this recipe. This recipe has everything I like – it even has the color purple. Usually, when I’m performing culinary wish-fulfillment, a whole lot of butter is involved, but this Curry Poached Cod is actually the perfect January meal. It’s loaded with veggies, it won’t break the bank and it has an element of comfort to it. It also comes together in a half an hour, which is a welcome change of pace from the low and slow efforts that usually accompany winter. It’s also light on the carbs, so you can have double the lasagna the next night – that’s how that works, right?
It’s been a long time coming, but finally, the much anticipated (by me, mostly) cod recipe is here. Step away from the pasta and give this Curry Poached Cod a whirl. It will serve as a reminder there are still green things growing somewhere in the world.
- 2 wild cod fillets, patted dry
- 6 heads of baby bok choy
- 2 Chinese eggplants, cut into wedges
- 100 g (3.5 oz) shiitake mushrooms
- 20 g (0.7 oz) fresh cilantro
- 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 shallots, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, julienne
- 1 1/2 tablespoons green curry paste
- 2 oz sake
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon demerara sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 green chilies, thinly sliced
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Black sesame seeds for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Place the bok choy and eggplant in a large mixing bowl.
- Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and set aside. Add the shiitake caps to the bok choy and eggplant.
- Remove the stems from the cilantro and add them to the shiitake stems. Wrap the stems in cheese cloth and secure with butcher's twine. Set aside.
- Finely chop the cilantro leaves and set aside.
- Add the canola oil, sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce to the bok choy, eggplant and mushroom caps. Toss to coat. Spread the seasoned veggies across two baking sheets and roast for ten minutes. Turn off the oven. Let the veggies sit until ready to use.
- While the vegetables are roasting, heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and ginger. Sauté until fragrant. About 3 minutes.
- Add the green curry paste and fry for a minute or two. Deglaze the pan with sake.
- Stir in the coconut milk, frozen peas, fish sauce, sugar and the remaining soy sauce. Stir to combine.
- Toss cheese cloth bundle into the skillet and bring the curry to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and leave the curry to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Once the 10 minutes are up, add lime juice. Taste and season with additional soy sauce if necessary.
- Add the cod to the curry poaching liquid. Poach fish for 5-6 minutes, turning once if the fish isn't fully immersed. The fish should flake easily.
- Divide bok choy, eggplant wedges and mushrooms across two bowls. Top the veggies with a cod fillet and spoon curry sauce over everything.
- Garnish with green chilies, scallions, black sesame seeds and cilantro if desired.