Cod Fillet with Red and Green Pesto

After a long day’s work, this is one of my go-to fish recipes: it only takes 5 minutes of prep work and 20-25 minutes in the oven (during which you can either cook some greens and potatoes to go with the fish or just enjoy some quiet downtime). It’s also very healthy: a fillet of cod is less than 100 calories, and that’s mostly in protein. The recipe is very flexible. There are plenty of optional ingredients, and while I’m using cod here, it works with most types of white fish (also, if you want to try it with salmon, the I think it tastes better without complicating the dish with red pesto and tomatoes – as salmon has a stronger flavour).With the portion sizes below, this recipe serves 2. Scale up or down if you need to. As long as you can place the fillets flat when putting them into the oven, there is no need to increase the cooking time.

2 fillets of cod or other white fish (or salmon)
A handful of cherry vine tomatoes (optional)
Half a lemon
1 teaspoon of Chinese shaoxing cooking wine (optional)
1 tablespoon of green pesto
1 teaspoon of red pesto (optional)
1 teaspoon of olive oil

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 6)

Step 2: Get your chopping board out and…
a) Score the cod fillets (this is so that the flavours can get in more easily)
b) Chop the cherry tomatoes in half
c) Take 2 slices off the lemon and half these (save the rest)

Step 3: Grab a generous piece of kitchen foil and lay it in the tray, with enough to wrap around the fish left onto the side. It doesn’t matter whether the shiny side is up or down – the sides are functionally exactly the same. Lay the ingredients onto the foil, in the following order:
a) The Chinese shaoxing cooking wine (this takes away the “fishy” taste in Chinese cooking, in a similar way to lemon), and it will rise as it cooks, so you want it at the bottom
b) The scored fish fillets, side by side
c) The green pesto, smeared over the fillets
d) The red pesto, smeared around the edges (I like to add this because the sun-dried tomatoes tie in with the flavour of the fresh tomatoes)
e) The sliced lemon, placed on top of the fish
f) A squeeze of the left-over lemon, if you prefer a sharper taste
g) The olive oil, drizzled on top
h) The halved tomatoes, scattered around the fish

Step 4: Wrap the foil around the fish and pop it in the oven, ideally on the top shelf. Bake for 25 minutes.

Step 5: Take it out of the oven and serve. Pesto cod fish recipe It should end up with plenty of juice. You can spoon it out to add to a greens stir-fry if you prefer – it makes the flavours a bit richer. Enjoy!


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