Olive Oil Poached Cod with Tomato Sauce, Pine Nuts and Herbs
This is definitely the most Christmas-looking dish I’ve ever made! When arranged on a platter, it just looks so beautiful and inviting – with all the vibrant colors of the tomatoes, olives, crispy caramelized shallots and fresh herb topping.
For the sauce: Add 1/4 cup olive oil and the garlic to a large Dutch oven over medium heat and cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 2 minutes. (Make sure not to overcook the garlic, as there should be no color.) Add the red pepper flakes, then the crushed tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and bring to a simmer. Add the olives and capers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the water reduces from the top, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the rosemary sprigs and allow to steep.
For the caramelized shallots: Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, sugar and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
For the cod: Heat the oil, garlic and basil in a 14-inch saute pan to 120 degrees F and cook until the garlic is golden brown and the basil has started to wilt. Discard the garlic and basil (they have done their job and seasoned the oil).
Season both sides of the cod with salt. Gently place the cod fillets in the pan, making sure they are submerged, and poach until the fillets turn cloudy white and are firm to the touch with a slight bounce, about 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spatula and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
For serving: Lightly toast the pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Toss together with the basil, parsley, oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
Spoon the sauce onto a large platter and nestle the fish on top. Top each filet with a spoonful of caramelized shallots, then sprinkle the pine nut mixture over the fish.