Two weeks ago when all of the kids and significant others were in town, we went to breakfast at Le Resto Fish & Smoked Seafood Bistro, in Chelsea, Quebec. I was enticed by their new menu item, Cod poached Portuguese-style in tomato sauce with anchovies, chorizo, capers and olives served with chick peas, green beans, egg and olive oil drizzled bread. For an extra charge you can add mussels and shrimp. This rustic dish was so good I could not stop thinking about it.
The cod was lightly poached and held its shape and succulent, delicate flavour. The tomato poaching broth was rich with the warm spicy flavours of anise, saffron and smoky paprika, chunky with carrot and chick pea, salty and complex with olive, caper and anchovy, and bright with citrus. A perfect half of a soft boiled egg adds luscious creaminess and the grilled bread slathered in olive oil lends a delicious chewy crunch.
I was prepared to recreate it through Google and trial and error when, on a whim we visited the Boucanerie (the Resto’s smokehouse just up the street) for some of their divine hot smoked maple salmon. Madame Line Boyer was in the house and I decided to straight up ask her if she would share the recipe for the cod dish. Line is the kind of hostess who is passionate about her product and customers and not only happily shared, but also led me through the preparation of her creation which was inspired by a surplus of cod, her French heritage and intuition for cooking and a traditional Portuguese recipe. The Boucanerie sells the sauce pre-made for the less adventurous, and of course, excellent cod fish.
So, as Mme. Boyer launched into her passion for this recipe (which is now a regular menu item due to popular demand), Rob recorded the “recipe” on his phone as she shared. Line cooks inspired by her ingredients and what is on hand. No measuring. I guessed at most amounts, and I must say I think I nailed it. I made the cod this past “Bottle of Wine Monday” and it was perfect. I also learned how to make a perfect soft-boiled egg for the top…which is essential.
Cod Poached in Tomato Sauce Portuguese-Style
2 Fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed and meat cut into small chunks
1 Carrot, small dice
1/2 tsp. Anise seed
Good pinch of saffron
1 tsp. Smoked Sweet Paprika
Splash of Sherry or Marsala
1 28 oz Can San Marzano or best quality whole tomatoes
1 Can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (Line prepares dried chickpeas for her dish)
1 Anchovy fillet, mushed up, plus a bit of the anchovy oil
A good dollop of frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tsp. Capers, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Pound of Cod
2 Eggs, soft-boiled
Rustic bread such as Art-Is-In Dynamite white, grilled or toasted and liberally drizzled with good quality olive oil
16 Kalamata olives
1. Render chorizo in a bit of olive oil. When meat is cooked add carrot and saute until tender, about a minute or two.
2. Add anise, saffron and paprika. Saute another minute. Deglaze pan with sherry.
3. Add chick peas and toss. Add tomatoes by squooshing the whole ones with your hands.
4. Add anchovy and a bit of anchovy oil. Simmer for 20 minutes
5. Walk the dog
6. Add the orange concentrate and the capers. Taste and add salt and pepper.
7. Place cod pieces in stew to poach. About 7 to 10 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, as fish cooks, boil eggs and toast bread.
9. Serve in low bowls, with 4 olives for garnish, half of a soft boiled egg and toasted baguette drizzled with olive oil.
10. Open wine