Cod Basquaise

In this easy one-pot dish, Chef Boulud marries clean, mild cod with bold chorizo, wine, garlic, and espelette, the iconic pepper of the Pays Basque region of France. The fish is first spiced and seared for a bit of texture, then gently poached in the bright broth to absorb flavor without overcooking.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

4 fillets cod, skinless, preferably center cut, about 1.5 lb total

Sea salt

1 teaspoon ground espelette pepper, divided, available at specialty markets or online; may substitute unsmoked hot paprika

1 teaspoon paprika, divided

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for garnish

1 link Spanish chorizo, cut into ¼-inch coins; about ½ cup

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced, about ¾ cup

1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced, about ¾ cup

1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced, about ¾ cup

Freshly ground white pepper

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, about 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1/2 cup high-quality white wine, preferably from the Basque region

2 plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded, cut into strips

1/2 cup Water

Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions

  1. Season one side of the cod fillets with a pinch of salt, a pinch of espelette pepper, and a pinch of paprika. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, arrange chorizo coins around the edge of the pan; then place the cod fillets, spiced side down, in the center. Sear the fillets until they are lightly golden on one side, about 30 seconds; then remove from the pan and set aside, spiced side up. Flip chorizo coins and continue to sear until they release some fat, 1 minute.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add sliced onions and peppers; stir, then season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss or stir to combine, then add a pinch of espelette pepper and a pinch of paprika. Stir and sweat until vegetables are soft but have taken on no color, 6–8 minutes.
  3. To the vegetables, add chopped garlic and 1 more tablespoon olive oil; toss and stir. Add the tomato paste and white wine, stir, and simmer for about 30 seconds. Add the sliced tomatoes. Continue simmering until the pan is nearly dry ("au sec"), 5–7 minutes. Add water, then nestle cod fillets into the vegetables, spiced side up. Reduce heat to low and poach the fish, uncovered, until cooked, 10–15 minutes.
  4. Cod is done when it’s no longer translucent. Garnish the dish with parsley leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.