This is quite definitely one of my very favorite ways to cook fish. It’s easy. It requires only a few minutes of hands-on work and then it cooks away in the oven while you are busy with other things. It’s just about a one pot meal. (I do like a nice steamed broccoli or green beans to round out the meal.) It’s satisfying. It’s something I can make any time of the year and be happy. And it’s pretty! I think there is something to be said for a meal that is as nice to look at as it is to eat.
Much of what I make has Mediterranean flavors, like my Baba Ghanoush and my Caprese Salad with Burrata, and this recipe is no exception. So for me this is just about a pantry meal, which means it ends up on my dinner table frequently. All I had to buy specifically for dinner was the fish.
Oregano, lemons, garlic and onion, plenty of olive oil and a splash of vermouth all combine to give the sauce a flavor that makes want to eat it up with a spoon. Though it is very difficult, I usually restrain myself, and just mash up the potatoes a bit so they can soak up the sauce.
The initial cooking should make the onions meltingly tender before you add the potatoes. Check them with the edge of the spoon. If there is no resistance, you are good to go. Similarly, the potatoes should have little or no resistance before you add the fish. Once the fish is in the pan, all you are waiting for is for the fish to cook through. Dried out, over-cooked fish is no good! And it’s too easy to do if you are still waiting for the potatoes to get soft. This is one of those times when patience is your friend.
Oh, and remember to put an oven mitt or other cover over the handle of the pan after you take it out of the oven! I have burnt my hands way too many times when I’ve forgotten to cover the handle and then forgotten it was still hot. Learn from my mistakes.
See what I have to deal with while I’m trying to take pretty pictures of the food for all of you? You may wonder how I resist those eyes. Only with great difficulty and long practice.
As I mentioned before, don’t let the fish overcook. If your pieces are fairly thin, they will take no more than 15 minutes to cook so keep an eye on them. If you have a mix of thinner and thicker pieces, you may want to add the thicker ones to the pan, wait 5 minutes, and then add the thin ones. Also, you can scoop the fish out into a bowl and then put the pan back in the oven if the potatoes aren’t quite done when the fish is. Just cover them and add them back in once the potatoes are done.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 4 medium yellow potatoes, cut into wedges
- 3 bay leaves
- ¼ cup vermouth, or white wine
- 1 lb cod, cut into 5-6 chunks
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped herbs, such as parsley, oregano, thyme, and sage
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Heat a large, oven-proof skillet over medium and add oil. When oil is hot, add onions and a pinch or two of salt to the pan. Saute for 3 minutes, then turn the heat down to low and cover the skillet. Cook onions for 10 minutes more, or until soft and lightly colored. Add garlic and oregano. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add potatoes and bay leaves. Stir to mix them into the oil. Then cover the skillet and put it into the oven. Bake potatoes for 40 minutes.
- Remove skillet from oven. Add cod and vermouth. Squeeze the juice of ½ a lemon into the pan. Cut each of the remaining lemon halves into four pieces and scatter them around the pan.
- Return pan to oven and bake, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick your cod pieces are.