This recipe is inspired by some “Asian” noodle salad from a local market’s prepared food section. I grab it when I swing by for their house-made frozen cod cakes. I did the online search for “Asian” noodle salad, mixed and matched a few things and came up with this.
It seemed to go over well and the leftovers were as good, if not a bit better, after a couple of days rest in the fridge.
This sounds pretty fancy however it can come together in 35 minutes. You can even make this a one-pan meal if you want, though two skillets are necessary to hit less than 30 minutes.
An agrodolce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce. I’ve added a flavor boost with some anchovy paste and a bit of sriracha. Neither is really noticeable with all the vinegar and sugar. They’d be missed if they weren’t there though.
Pan Roasted Cod Agrodolce
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30-40 minutes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4″ strips
1 red onion, cut int 1/4″ strips
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. anchovy paste
1 tsp. sriracha sauce
2 – 4 cod fillets (between 1/2″ and 1″ thick)
kosher salt and black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick over medium heat. Add the peppers and onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with the oil and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
While the peppers cook combine the vinegars, sugar, anchovy and sriracha in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Stir the sauce into the skillet until the onions and pepper are coated. Reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, about 10 minutes.
When the sauce is reduce transfer it to a clean bowl and cover it with a plate (or plastic wrap) to keep warm. Wipe on the skillet as best you can and return the skillet to medium heat.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Pat dry the cod fillets, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes on the first side, carefully flip to the uncooked side and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The fillets should be opaque all the way through. An instant read thermometer will hit 140°F when the fish is done.
To serve spoon the onion/pepper mixture onto your plate and place a piece of cooked cod on top. Tilt the pan and gather a spoonful of sauce, drizzle this over the fish. A bit of freshly cracked black pepper and a sprinkling from on high of sea salt will add a nice finish. I served it with a rice/quinoa I found in the grocery freezer section.
If you want to dirty an extra pan you can cook the fish in a second skillet when the sauce has reduced for 5 minutes.
I have a small squeeze tube of anchovy paste that I use in dishes such as this. I picked it up in the Italian food section of my local grocery store and keep it in the fridge along with a tube of tomato paste. The great thing about paste in a tube is it will last longer because there is little to no air in contact with the unused portion. Plus it had a “good until” date of two years into the future so I don’t have to find 17 uses for anchovy paste in one week.
I bought baby bok choy at the local farm stand with no clear idea of what I was going to do with it. I had a vague idea for a stir fry with a bunch of other things to fill out the dish. Instead I ended up using it as stand alone side dish at our Saturday weekly night dinner. I knew I wanted something more than just greens braised with garlic so I turned to the pantry for something different. The bottles of vinegar caught my eye and I went from there.
Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage.
Sauteed Baby Bok Choy with Rice Wine Vinegar
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
1 – 1.5 lbs. baby bok choy
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
Trim the bottoms and then quarter the base of the bok choy. You can tear the leaves off as well if you like. Rinse well and then spin in a salad spinner until dry.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the bok choy and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until the greens have reduced in volume.
Stir or toss the bok choy in the pan. Add chile flakes and vinegar; recover. Cook for an 3 minutes, stir or toss and then cook uncovered until the bok choy is cooked to your likeness.
Full size bok choy could certainly be used in this dish. You’ll want to cut the stems into 2″ by 1/2″ strips to mimic the size of the baby bok choy stems.