Braised Cod with Peperonata

Unlike a lot of people that I know, I could eat some sort of fish for dinner every night of the week.  Add that to a little pasta and a good sauce and I am a happy foodie.  My husband is a “meat & potatoes” guy, so fish is not served as often as I would prefer.  Last night I made this wonderful cod dish and his response was: “It tastes fishy”.  My response was “Well it is fish, but if you taste the sauce in the same bite, you enjoy the sauce and ‘fish taste’, which I happen to love does disappears with the combination.  cod

This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated with a few changes due to what I had or did not have in the pantry and refrigerator.

For this Spanish-style braised cod recipe, we laid down a base of sautéed onion, bell pepper, garlic, and paprika, to which we added tomatoes, fresh thyme, and wine. Once the broth was prepared, we simply nestled the pieces of fish down into the sauce, dropped the heat to low, covered the skillet, and let the fish cook in the moist environment. Within about 10 minutes, the fish was cooked through—the result being a tender, moist, and very well seasoned braised cod recipe.

Note: If you can buy several different brands of tomatoes and do a taste testing, kind of like a wine tasting.  The better the tomatoes, the better the end product.  I had a half used jar of tomato spread, so added it in, so it did not go to waste.  It didn’t hurt!


2 tbs olive oil

2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced thin (I had a jar of roasted red peppers so used those)
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
2 tsp sweet paprika
Salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz)(I only had 28oz Bianco Tomatos)
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
Skinless cod fillets, 1 inch thick (I left the skin on and it was not a deal breaker)
2 tbs fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar


Halibut, snapper, tilapia, bluefish, monkfish, or sea bass fillets are all good substitutions for the cod. If desired, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil before serving. Smoked paprika (often found in specialty spice markets) is a nice substitution for the paprika here. Serve with soft polenta or crusty bread. I served over fresh pasta. The sauce meshed beautifully with the pasta.  

Making the Minutes Count:While the peppers and onion cook, mince the garlic and thyme. Chop the basil while the fish cooks.

1. Sauté Aromatics: Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bell peppers, onion, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Make Sauce: Stir in tomatoes, wine, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and bring to simmer.

3. Poach Fish: Pat cod dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Nestle cod into pan and spoon sauce over fish. Cover and cook over low heat until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife, about 10 minutes.

4. Finish Sauce: Transfer fish to individual plates. Stir basil and vinegar into sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over fish and serve.

Braised Cod with Peperonata

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