baked cod and smoked chili potatoes; flowering white kale

It was cold and raining while I stood in front of the fish stall in the Greenmarket; I slacked the partner, who was at work, sending him a pic of the menu board, and asked for a suggestion; the answer came back almost immediately, “given the weather, one of the fish and potatoes [recipes]”.

Here it is.

  • one large section (18 ounces) of a very fresh cod fillet ounces total) from P.E. & D.D. Seafood in the Union Square greenmarket, washed and rinsed, carefully halved, placed in a platter on a bed of coarse sea salt, with more salt added on top until the pieces were completely covered, then set aside while a bed of potatoes was prepared for them by slicing lengthwise (to a thickness of roughly 1/4″) 12 ounces of ‘red thumb’ (medium size) potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, tossing them inside a bowl with a little olive oil, sea salt, a freshly-ground mix of black pepper and other things that had gotten together accidentally when I was preparing a dry marinade for a meal a while back and then decided to hold onto for future use (black pepper, fennel seeds cumin seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, white peppercorns, and whole clove), and a pinch of smoked serrano pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, arranging the potatoes, only slightly overlapping, since they were relatively few this time, inside a well-seasoned 9″ x 12″ La Tienda rectangular terra cotta cazuela, or glazed ceramic oven pan, cooking them for 25 minutes or so in a 400º oven, or until they were tender when pierced, but not quite fully cooked, then the cod fillets, having already been removed from the platter and their salt covering, thoroughly immersed in many fresh changes of water to bring down the saltiness (the soaking process somehow gives the fish more solidity, which can be easily felt while it’s being handled it at this point; it’s kinda sexy; it’s also weird how this Marc Bittman recipe totally turns inside out the ancient tradition of salting cod, which is an ancient response to preserve seafood over time and great distance), drained and dried, were placed inside the pan on top of the potatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil, sprinkled with black pepper, the pan returned to the oven for about 8 or 9 minutes (the exact time depends on the thickness of the fillets), or until just cooked through, removing the fish with a spatula (or, better, 2 spatulas), along with as much of the potatoes as can be brought along with each piece, arranging everything as intact as possible on the plates, returning to the pan for the remainder of the potatoes, the servings garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge

I forgot to snap a picture of the kale while I was at the Greenmarket, so here it is on the kitchen counter (it reduced dramatically while wilting in the pot), with the salted cod on the upper right.