Seared cod with salsa verde

Seared cod with salsa verde


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About this recipe: A punchy herb salsa is the perfect accompaniment for char-grilled white fish, served with tender asparagus spears and red radicchio, also cooked on the grill pan. The fish and vegetables are piled on toasted muffins in a style reminiscent of Eggs Benedict.

Maggie Pannell

Serves: 4 

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 thick pieces cod fillet with skin, about 125g each
  • 250g asparagus spears, trimmed and halved lengthways if thick
  • 2 heads radicchio or red chicory, quartered lengthways
  • 4 English muffins, split in half
  • 2 tbsp bottled capers, rinsed
  • 15g fresh mint
  • 50g fresh parsley
  • 25g fresh basil
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 spring onions, sliced

Prep:45min  ›  Cook:13min  ›  Ready in:58min 

  1. Put 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large shallow dish with the garlic and lemon zest. Add the cod and turn each piece in the oil to coat both sides. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes. Place the asparagus in another dish with the radicchio and pour over the lemon juice.
  2. For the salsa, finely chop the capers, mint, parsley, basil and chilli in a food processor. Add the olive oil and spring onions and pulse to mix. Pour in the lemon juice from the vegetables and transfer the salsa to a serving dish. Cover and set aside.
  3. Heat a cast-iron, ridged griddle over a high heat. Drain the oil from the cod onto the asparagus and radicchio, then turn the vegetables to coat them. Char-grill the asparagus, turning occasionally, for 4–5 minutes until lightly charred, bright green and tender. Transfer to a serving dish. Char-grill the radicchio, turning once, for 1–2 minutes until attractively charred and just beginning to wilt. Add to the asparagus and cover to keep warm.
  4. Put the cod, skin-side up, on the griddle and cook for 2 minutes. Use a fish slice to turn the cod and cook for a further 3–4 minutes until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily. Meanwhile, toast the muffin halves.
  5. Brush the toasted muffins with the remaining olive oil. Place the bottom half of each muffin on a plate. Pile the cod and vegetables on top and spoon over the salsa. Lean the other muffin halves against the side and serve.

Alternatives to cod:

Try this recipe with inexpensive fresh coley or pouting. They both belong to the cod family but are much cheaper and available in larger supermarkets or fishmongers.


*Instead of cod, try salmon or tuna steak or fillet, or small whole mackerel that have been cleaned, boned, split and opened out flat. *Red pepper strips and spring onions would also be delicious char-grilled to serve with the fish in place of the asparagus and radicchio. *For a vegetarian alternative, griddle thick slices of halloumi cheese or smoked tofu and serve with the vegetables, salsa and muffins.

cook's tips

Cook the fish fillets skin-side up first, so that they keep their shape – the thick skin holds the flakes of flesh together. Skinless fillets are difficult to turn when cooked on a griddle as they tend to fall apart; however, you can use skinless fillets if you are cooking in a frying pan. * Make the salsa verde in advance and keep it chilled in the fridge until you need it. * If you don't have a griddle, cook the vegetables and fish under a pre-heated hot grill. Cover the grill rack with foil.

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