The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Cod with Orange-Infused Tomato Sauce and Arborio Rice

Did I not say we’re having a lot of fish these days? Mostly cod. It’s one of the items readily available in the fish department at our local co-op and affordable and flaky delicious. Salmon too. We’re trying a grapefruit relish and salmon dish tonight.

MN Winter 2013

We also have someone coming to check out the loveseat we posted on craigslist and the only time they could make it down from Minneapolis is a bit later than we care for but we just want to claim the space again. We sold an antique chair in the same condition as the loveseat last night. Pieces we meant to reupholster and use in our dining room but now that we’re uprooting our lives to Seattle in less than a year our priorities have changed. Reupholstering is tricky and I’m not ready to tackle the job moreso mentally with all the steps. Retaining information is difficult with all the other projects floating in my head. Painting the bedrooms, renovating the bathroom and updating the kitchen (updating might be too light of a word). All the exterior doors need to be stripped and painted, re-meshed (if that’s the term), the 3 season porch is ug-ly so my idea is to paint and add new lighting, maybe a large outdoor area rug to cover the terrible carpet. Add hardwood floors to some of the upstairs, paint all the windows, trim/base and doors, replace the water heater, research new countertops and sink for the kitchen, find tile for the basement bath, and a bajillion other tasks done by the two of us (maybe some family help later). Then the basement needs attention,especially the horrific bathroom, and the house is lacking landscape/curb appeal. It is officially spring-the time to get out and “pertify” things- as of yesterday but we have snow piled almost as tall as me outside.

MN Winter 2013

Everything has to be planned just right to both fit in the budget and prepare for the next phase of the project. Such and such needs finished before we can move on to another. Smash them close together with some at the same time and that’s where my husband and I are every week and weekend for the last 15 months plus the next 9,10,11,12 months. Vacation is working on the house. We’ve never had a vacation (or honeymoon) that didn’t serve another purpose for work or familial duties. Our hardwork now is so that we can someday have and afford a true vacation, a family, our own business and a rewarding retirement in a place that fits our needs with activities and a lifestyle that bring us joy.

MN Winter 2013

But food. Yes. Preparing food is my getaway from the projects.

This recipe was on our table last night which makes it pretty special seeing as how I’m writing about it the next day. Just to clarify, that is not how it goes 95% of the time.

This came from Jessica Theroux through Food & Wine. It was supposed to have fresh tomatoes but it’s still winter in the Midwest in my book and canned tomatoes were dandy. Then there was the slight issue of my being out of expensive saffron and used smoked paprika instead. I reduced the servings and therefore adjusted the quantity of ingredients. Added more garnishes I had on hand. The recipe is a bit distant from its original so, I guess I’m saying my version is worth making and I assume the original is worthy too. How similar the flavors of both recipes are is up in the air. Being tomato-based and infused with orange zest in both makes me believe it wouldn’t be too different. I did add some dry white wine and split the orange zest/a bay leaf between the rice and sauce which didn’t happen in the original-it was only in the rice. Dried oregano in place of fresh. That’s often how I cook and sometimes, I admit, I don’t explain that to you and simply slap on “adapted” and proceed to give you my rendition in the ingredient list and directions. That “adapted” could mean by quite a bit or only a few changes but if it gets too far from the original I call it my own. It’s widely disputed by food bloggers but I can’t afford to give time contemplating the topic. We’re building our equity and future here. Until next time.

Cod with Smoky Tomato Sauce and Orange/Clove-Infused Arborio Rice

Cod with Orange-Infused Tomato Sauce and Arborio Rice
Serves 2

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
a few dashes of red pepper flakes (for some heat-reduce or omit if you are not a fan of heat)
one 14 oz.(or so) can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried oregano
salt/freshly ground black pepper
zest of 1/2 orange, in wide strips, plus finely grated zest, for garnish
2 tbsp dry white wine-optional
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1/2 cup arborio rice
two 4-ounce skinless cod or halibut fillets
chopped cilantro or parsley, scallions and orange zest for garnish

Fill a pot with water for your rice and start the boiling process. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, a little less than 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and smoked paprika, oregano, half of the large zest peels, a bay leaf, the white wine and season with salt and black pepper. Cook over over moderate heat for about 5 minutes then reduce to moderately low heat. Stir the tomatoes occasionally. The liquid will reduce, about 15 to 20 minutes, which is what you’re looking for.

Meanwhile, in your pot of boiling water, combine the other half of the orange zest, remaining bay leaf, cloves, rice and 1 tbsp of the olive oil and cook until the rice is al dente, 15 to 18 minutes. (Keep at a boil.) Meanwhile, nestle the cod in the tomato sauce and cook, turning the fillets once, until just opaque throughout, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the orange zest and bay leaf form the sauce. When the rice is done, drain and discard the zest, bay leaf and cloves. Return the rice to the pot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt.

Spoon the rice into bowls or on a plate and top with the cod and sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley, scallions and grated orange zest. Serve immediately.

3 thoughts on “Cod with Orange-Infused Tomato Sauce and Arborio Rice

  1. If my husband were more of a fish eater I’d have to make this. Hmmm…maybe I’ll “adapt” it even further and give it a go with chicken.
    As for the next year of work and planning, just remember that keeping your hands busy will help keep your mind from going “waaaahhhhhhaaaa!!” The hardest parts of our transition were the times where we had to wait, like having the house on the market and just waiting for an offer.

    1. Yeah, I think that part will drive me bonkers. We have some furniture projects lined up for me around that time which I hope helps. I think chicken would be excellent for this dish. I might have to try it too.

  2. Hi Annie. This looks like a lovely way to prepare cod. We enjoy it too…there aren’t too many fish available in Colorado, but cod and salmon are always easy to find! And I know that all the hard work will pay off for you guys (it already has!) You are an inspiration to so many (myself included) Thank you for sharing!

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