Rock Recipes | Stuffed Cod a la Empire

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A couple of key Newfoundland ingredients take center stage in this recipe which I developed to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Rock Recipes, my St. John’s based recipe blog. In the autumn of 2007, I posted my first recipe, an eye tempting Blueberry Mousse Cake. That recipe was a real foreshadowing of the hundreds of indulgent desserts that have appeared there since. On that day, I was mightily pleased because the site got 169 page views and with the encouragement of friends and family, I was on my way. The site now regularly get 2500-4000 page views a day, has had over 1.3 million total views, been read in 200 countries and I have posted over 650 recipes and photos.

As readership continues to grow month after month, people continue to discover my little corner of the web and I hear from transplanted Newfoundlanders all over the world who have encouraged me from the beginning. A big thanks to all who have supported my blog over the years and I hope I have a few more recipes left in me yet. Stay tuned.

Getting back to the recipe at hand, the two key ingredients I mentioned earlier are fresh Newfoundland cod and our most underused herb, savoury. I normally don’t fuss with fish; pan fried cod or fish and chips is just fine with me but I do on occasion enjoy stuffed cod with traditional Newfoundland savoury stuffing, so I’ve taken that simple dish as inspiration for this delicious meal. The prosciutto wrapped around the outside keeps the fish incredibly moist and the quickly cooked, garlicky tomato compote adds a sweet, slightly spicy finish to this terrific dish. Because you can do all of the prep work in advance, the prepared fish portions can simply be popped into a hot oven at the last minute, making it an ideal dinner party dish and one that will, no doubt, be served up repeatedly at my table.

Oh, in case you’re wondering about the name of the dish, it comes from Empire Avenue, the street I live on here in St. John’s. I figure an anniversary is a good occasion to indulge in a little tongue-in-cheek pretentious nomenclature. 😉

Serves 6

2 lbs fresh cod fillets

8-10 ounces of very thinly sliced prosciutto, this should be the deli sliced almost paper thin prosciutto

Tail sections of cod are best because they are thinner, making them easier to roll up and the triangular sections can be placed beside each other in opposite directions to form a rectangle. If the cod fillet is quite thick, simply slice it in half horizontally to create two thinner pieces. Prepare six fish portions in roughly 5×7 sized rectangles. Overlap slightly if using two pieces of fish to prepare the portion.

Squeeze handfuls of the stuffing into sausage shaped portions the width of the fish fillet and place at one end, roll the fillet rectangle all the way around the stuffing. Lay out slices of the prosciutto again in about a 5×7 rectangle and place the prepared cod and stuffing  at one end. Roll the prosciutto tightly around the cod and place in a lightly oiled shallow glass baking dish. Do not crowd the portions in the baking dish; allow at least an inch or two between the portions for good air circulation in the oven. If cooking all six portions at once use two 9 x13 or similar size glass baking dishes. Crowding the portions in the pan will not allow the prosciutto to seal the portions properly and the cod will dry out.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake the portions for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving with warm tomato compote.

Savoury Almond Stuffing

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 small red onion diced small

3 tbsp olive oil

Saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil until softened but not browned. Remove from heat and toss together with:

3 cups whole wheat bread cut in 1/2 inch dice

2 tbsp chopped chives

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

3 tbsp dried savoury

1/4 cup melted butter

1 to 2 ounces warm water

1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds

Quick Tomato Compote

4 cloves minced garlic
6 tbsp olive oil
8 large ripe tomatoes diced
2 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed chili sauce or chili flakes
salt and pepper to season

Sauté the garlic in the oil over medium heat for just a minute before adding the tomatoes, brown sugar, chili sauce, salt, pepper. Continue to cook until the tomatoes soften and the compote reduces to a jam-like consistency. Add the balsamic vinegar in the final minute or two of cooking before serving.