This is a recipe from the Basque region of Spain. When I studied at Salamanca in college, I recall meeting a boy my age on a country bus who, after drinking half of a 2-Liter of Coca Cola, opened a bottle of red table wine and poured it into the remaining Coke. He offered me a drink of the flat warm mixer, said it was a special drink from Basque country. I declined, with a smile, because he was otherwise charming and tan. But I haven’t held a high opinion of Basque cuisine, until now.
Cod with Potatoes and Salsa Verde
Adapted from Food and Wine Oct 2013
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
3/4 pound small golden new potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 pounds cod fillet, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
In a large skillet, warm 1/3 inch of oil over moderate heat. Add the potatoes, onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and onion to 4 bowls; keep warm.
Strain the oil through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, then return it to the skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat until golden, 5 minutes. Discard the garlic. Add the cod to the skillet and cook, turning once, until just white throughout, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, add the cod to the potatoes.
Pour off all but 1/3 cup of the oil from the skillet and let cool slightly. Stir in the 1/4 cup of oil and the water and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Stir in the parsley and season with salt. Spoon the salsa verde over the fish and potatoes and serve.
So smooth and rich. Again and again I am astounded at how from such simple elements, gourmet lifts.