cod in basil tomato sauce

Lindsey Bareham

This garlicky, fresh tomato sauce could be made up to three or four days ahead. I usually roast the fish for about ten minutes with a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper if I’m making this for more than two, but frying or poaching saves turning on the oven.

serves 2, prep 20 min, cook 25 min

2 thick fillets cod
4 garlic cloves
600g tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
10 basil leaves
flour for dusting
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp best olive oil

Pat the skinned fish dry, dust with salt and set aside while you make the sauce. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Count to 40, drain, swipe away the skin and quarter through the core. Scrape the seeds into a sieve over a bowl and crush to extract the juice. Chop the tomato flesh.

Chop then crush the garlic with a pinch salt to make a juicy paste. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic paste, stirring for 3 seconds then add the tomatoes and juice with a generous pinch salt. Simmer briskly, stirring often for about 15 min until the tomato breaks down, the juices thicken. Tear the basil over the top. Stir and leave covered while you cook the fish.

Rinse the fish, pat dry then dust with flour. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, fry the fish for 2-3 min a side until golden and starting to show the spectacular flakes. Serve very hot tomato sauce in shallow bowls topped with a fillet of fish and a swirl of best olive oil.