Cod is a culinary chameleon. It can be as pedestrian as a fish-and-chip dinner or as cosmopolitan as escabeche, a marinated dish that is one of Spain’s culinary gifts to the world. Instead of marinating the fish before cooking, the fish is marinated afterward, when the cod’s cells have swelled from heat and become more receptive to absorbing a spicy lemon, lime, and orange marinade. What a great make-ahead dish for a party.
Grill a few cumin-rubbed fillets, soak the cooked fish in marinade, then serve it up to 2 days later, after the cod’s large flakes have absorbed as much marinade as they can possibly hold. Although completely unnecessary, a spoonful of creamy Caper Mayonnaise (recipe follows) makes this dish taste doubly great.
Read Related: Cooking for Lent: Cod Veracruz
GRILLED COD ESCABECHE
Makes: 4 main-dish or 8 appetizer servings
1½ cups Adobo Marinade (recipe follows)
½ cup sliced pimento-stuffed Spanish green olives
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 large jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cod fillets (about 6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup Orange-Cumin Rub (recipe follows)
- Combine the marinade, olives, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Light a grill for direct medium-high heat, about 425ºF. Preheat a fish basket on the grill.
- Coat the fish with olive oil, and then sprinkle the rub all over it. Brush the grill grate and coat the grate and the hot fish basket generously with oil. Put the fillets in the basket and the basket on the grill, directly over the heat. Cover and grill until the fish looks opaque on the surface, but is still filmy and moist in the center (an internal temperature of 130ºF), 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fillets to a large, shallow, nonreactive dish such as a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour the marinade mixture over the fish and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before serving.
Keep it Simple: Replace the orange-cumin rub with store-bought Mexican chili powder or Cajun seasoning.