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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fast, Delicious, Healthy – A Great Weeknight Meal

A few weeks ago, my son, who does all the cooking in his family, emailed me a recipe that he claimed had become his salvation on hectic weeknights. He explained that it was an all-in-one main course that featured cod fillets on a bed of spinach, tomatoes, garlic, and olives, all conveniently layered on a large baking sheet. The dish took only about 15 minutes to assemble, then 25 minutes in the oven. When roasted, the fish, scented with an accent of lemon, was moist, and the mélange of vegetables melded into a tempting softness.

But here’s the best part: a quick trip to the supermarket is all that is needed to put this entrée together. Waltz through the produce aisle; put bags of pre-washed spinach and some tomatoes in your cart; walk by the salad bar and pick up pitted Kalamatas and roasted garlic; and finally make a quick stop at the fish department.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this dish definitely qualifies “as good for you!” There’s no cream, no cheese, just a small amount of olive oil, and plenty of vegetables. It has become my own “go-to” recipe for busy evenings, or is it just because the dish is so darn good?

Roasted Cod on a Bed of Spinach, Tomatoes, and Garlic
12 ounces baby spinach
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 plum tomatoes (10 to 12 ounces total), sliced crosswise
Scant 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup roasted garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

One 8-ounce red skin potato, scrubbed not peeled, cut into 1/2 inch dice, and blanched for
            5 minutes in boiling water to cover
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained well

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large lemon, halved
4 cod or other mild white fish fillets, 1-inch thick and 6 to 7 ounces each
4 teaspoons coarse toasted breadcrumbs, optional
Fleur de sel

Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 12- by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Place the spinach in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and then spread it on the bottom of the prepared baking sheet. Scatter the tomato slices over the spinach layer and then sprinkle on the olives, garlic, and potatoes or chickpeas. Salt and pepper the vegetables and drizzle with 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over them.

Arrange the fish on top of the vegetables. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon half over them. Salt and pepper well. If desired, sprinkle some toasted breadcrumbs on top of each fillet.

Bake until the fish is opaque and flakes easily and the spinach has wilted, 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove and sprinkle fish and vegetables with fleur de sel. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

*Photo is of cod and vegetables ready to go into the oven.


  1. This is absolutely a magnificent and easy meal to prepare. The flavors of the olives and roasted tomatoes add a Mediterranean flair to this dish.

  2. Glad you like this flavor combo. They work really well with the fish