March 24th, 2014
Many years ago, on a trip to Portugal, I got turned on to the sublime combination of chorizo sausage and clams. I was obsessed for a while, but eventually shifted my attention to some other food discovery and forgot about my Portuguese flavor obsession. In fact, until a recent dinner at a local restaurant, I hadn’t enjoyed the two together in years. But just like the first time, it only took a single bite of chorizo and clams, this time tangled with linguine, to get hooked. I’ve been jonesing to eat the two together ever since.
No problem. I cook all the time. I’ll just grab some clams and chorizo and it’s on, right? Uh, not so much. Here’s the catch:
Though cooking clams is not difficult (at all), I just can’t wrap my head around cooking clams for a quick weeknight family meal. (Can you?) So, for now, I’ll be making this Cod with Chorizo and Leeks. Though not exactly the same, cod and chorizo go beautifully together; this dish is ridiculously delicious.
More importantly, this recipe totally suits my weekday cooking mode: it’s low maintenance, easy, and quick. It’s also easy to serve to everyone in the family, no matter what their tastes. At my house, the picky one eats cod with rice and veggies; the big one adds chorizo, but leaves out the leeks; and the grownups eat this all together, in all its Portuguese inspired glory.
Far from a concession prize, this dish will tide me over until I feel like whipping up clams at home. It might even sate me until I can make it to my local restaurant—or Portugal—again. It’s that good.
Cod with Chorizo and Leeks
(Can be adapted to share with kids 6+ mos)*
1 teaspoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed, plus more for seasoning the fish
2-3 links fresh chorizo (look for mild if spicy food is a concern)
3 leeks, trimmed, washed and chopped
1 1/2 lbs skinless cod fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Cilantro for garnish, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime, add oil to a pan set over medium heat and, once hot, brown chorizo on all sides. Remove sausage from pan and set aside. Add chopped leeks to the pan and sauté until soft and fragrant. While the leeks cook, slice the sausage into 1″ rounds. It’s okay if the sausage isn’t cooked through at this point. When leeks are done, remove pan from heat. Add leeks and sausage to a baking pan that will snugly fit the fish fillets; set aside.
2. Season cod with salt and pepper and rub with oil on both sides. Nestle the fillets in the baking dish with leeks and sausage. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon over the whole baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Switch oven to broiler mode. Carefully flip the fish and place until the broiler for 2 more minutes to finish. Serve.
*Note: This dish is safe for little ones as young as 6+ months, so long as you puree or chop into an age appropriate consistency (with or without side veggies and/or grains). You can share the whole dish or pull out an combination of ingredients. See post above for how each of my kids enjoys this dish differently.