Cod with Chorizo and Beans with Arugula Pesto
This recipe is the perfect example of how a few killer ingredients can make a gorgeously creative and delicious dish without much going on in the way of effort.
The concept is simple: use chorizo, so full of garlic and paprika and its own natural drippings, to flavor the rest of the dish. So, I cut slices of dried, brilliantly red Spanish chorizo and layer them on top of a piece of cod. Here’s a chef’s trick: add a little olive oil to a small nonstick skillet on the stove. Place the fish, chorizo side up, in the hot pan and then put the whole thing in the oven. That way you have the chorizo crisping from the heat of the oven, and the bottom of the fish forming a golden crust from the heat of the pan.
After ten minutes, the fish is done, and the chorizo has rendered out its precious flavor into the bottom of the pan. That’s when I stir in canned cannellini beans, and heat them through in the drippings, to capture every last milligram of flavor. Then I stir in a simplified, easy basil and arugula pesto made with Pecorino cheese, a sharp sheep’s milk cheese that slightly mirrors the saltiness of Manchego and works so well with the chorizo. However, if tonight is not the night for using the food processor, just pick up some fresh basil pesto from the supermarket when you buy the fish. And don’t feel bad about it. The cheese melts, and the greens cling to the beans. The whole thing looks so beautiful, and is so impressive. And yet, the hardest thing in this recipe is arranging the chorizo on top of the cod.
Of course, as per the title of this column, when I test these recipes, I test them for two after work in my real life. Mr. English was on a business trip, so I saved all the food, wrapped it up, and took it to work for lunch with my colleague and friend. I had never cooked for him before, and was nervous. In the end, I think this was the perfect dish to start with. It’s one that looks like you really know what you’re doing, but also just has real flavor, and that’s a nice couple of attributes for something so easy to make.
From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats. Check it out every Friday!
Chorizo Crusted Cod and Beans with Arugula Pesto
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 cup basil
- 1/4 cup coarsely grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
- Salt and pepper
- 2 6-ounce pieces of cod
- 1 2-ounce piece of Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced
- 1 14.5-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Place the oven rack in the fourth position down from the top. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the garlic, arugula, Pecorino, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a mini food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Blitz until you have a pesto. If you don’t want to make pesto, just use 1/4 cup fresh store-bought pesto.
Season the cod with salt and pepper. Layer the thin slices of chorizo on the top of each fillet like the scales on a fish (sounds fiddly but it takes a minute). Add the 2 remaining teaspoons of oil to a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, carefully place the fish (with its chorizo scales facing up) in the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes on the stove, then transfer to the oven until the fish is cooked through—about 10 to 12 minutes.
Take the fish out of the skillet and set aside. Add the beans and 1 tablespoon of water to the skillet over medium heat. Heat until the water is evaporated and the beans are warm. Stir in the pesto. To plate, make a bed of the pesto beans, and top with the chorizo fish.
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