Pesto Breadcrumbed Cod

I’m back! Boy have I missed writing my little blog though and, of course, my kitchen. Many people love eating out when they’re away on holiday but not me. I prefer to cook at least some of my meals and that’s why self-catering suits me best. Not only does it cut those food costs but it goes some way to preventing overeating or indulging too much. However, nobody’s perfect and I think we all feel that post holiday bulge and so with that in mind this recipe is on the healthy side but also packed full of ridiculous flavour.

I don’t know about you but I get seriously tired of eating the same sort of salads – sometimes it feels like I’m in a leafy rut, which is why the orzo salad that accompanies this cod is wonderful. All bases are covered with this one and you really won’t feel like you are denying yourself, which is always important when you’re feeding a hungry man, right?

The cod is baked too, so don’t feel bad that there’s pesto and breadcrumbs on top. It’s such a small amount anyway – we’re wanting to enhance the cod not completely camouflage it. Let’s be honest, cod needs help in the flavour stakes because it can tend to be pretty bland and whilst I love to wrap it in bacon or pancetta I’m desperately trying to cut down on my meat intake.

This dish is a pescaterians dream and is a delight to make. Lots of small components that make one big taste. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be dull. True story.

Ingredients:

2 cod fillets

2 tsp pesto

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

Orzo salad:

200g orzo pasta

1 pepper (yellow or orange)

3/4 spring onions (scallions, green onions)

2 carrots

1 cup frozen sweetcorn

Salad dressing:

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

juice half lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Cut pepper into quarters and place on a baking sheet. Place under grill/broiler until skins are blackened. Cover with foil, cling film or a plastic bag (reverse it first though) and wait until they are cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin and chop into thick chunks.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees farhenheit. Lightly season the cod. Smear a teaspoon of pesto on each fillet and top with a tablespoon of breadcrumbs. You can, of course, buy the breadcrumbs but I like to blitz mine in my little handblender – I use wholewheat bread. Bake in oven for 20-25mins until breadcrumbs are crunchy and golden.

Bring a medium pan of water to the boil. Salt and add orzo pasta. Cook for up to 6mins. Drain and rinse under cold water immediately. Finely chop scallions. grate carrots – I like to squeeze out excess juice before adding to the pasta. Pour boiling water over the frozen sweetcorn and let soak for 5mins before draining.

For the dressing use an empty jar. Teaspoon of dijon first. Seasoning, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and oil. Remember to put to lid on before shaking;)

In a large bowl combine the orzo, spring onions, carrots, sweetcorn and dressing. Some fresh basil leaves would also be a nice addition. I have a basil plant on my kitchen window sill but I keep forgetting to use the damn thing, grrrr! Taste it now because you might want to season the salad a little more.

It’s time to serve up! I like to pile up the salad and place the cod fillet on top. There’ll be some excess juice in the pan you cooked the fish in and I like to spoon this over the dish – waste not, want not:)

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