The holidays are here and we have a lot of feasting ahead of us. And while I love cheeseboards, nog, and roast beast as much as the next person, I must admit I find it a little daunting. It’s no surprise I enjoy food quite a lot and rich food at that. But I do like a bit of balance. You can OD on decadence. That’s why, between bites of brie, I like to create moments of lightness. And today’s Green Cod Rice Skillet is one of those moments. Bonus – it’s also a tidy one-pot 30-minute meal, which is a very welcome change from the endless banquets this season demands of us. So without further ado, let’s put this dish together.
This dish starts with a coarsely chopped onion and some green beans chopped into 11\2-inch pieces. And that is pretty much all the chopping that is required for this dish. When I said this was a light lift, I really meant it. The rest of the prep is a job for your food processor.
Start by piling that coarsely chopped onion, five cloves of garlic, and a peeled knob of ginger into your food processor. Blitz until a fine paste forms. Pour it into a bowl and set it aside. Rinse out the bowl of your food processor. We will need it again shortly.
But before we get there, place a small saucepan of water over high heat. Bring the water to a boil and take it off of the heat. Add an entire pack of baby spinach to the recently boiled water and wait for it to wilt. It will decrease in volume significantly. Strain the spinach and rinse it with cold water. Place it in the food processor and blitz until very smooth with a handful of fresh cilantro. Pour the purée into a bowl and set it aside as well.
Now let’s bring the skillet into this. Heat a little neutral oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add black mustard seed and whole cumin seed and sauté until they begin to pop. Add the onion purée you made earlier and sauté until it turns slightly golden. Stir in a couple of teaspoons of Kashmiri chili powder and cook for a minute longer.
If you can’t track down Kashmiri chili powder, substitute paprika with a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s a closer match than other jarred chili powders that lean more into Mexican and Tex-Mex flavors. But having said that, you can find Kashmiri chili powder at most Indian grocery stores, so it may be worth a special trip. Your butter chicken will never be the same.
Stir in the rice. I’m using white basmati rice and I suggest you do the same. It’s a quick cooking rice, which is exactly what we need in this instance because we don’t want to keep the fish on the heat for longer than necessary. Cod cooks quickly and overcooks even faster. So even with basmati in our corner, we are going to give the rice a little head start. Pour in fish or vegetable stock, whatever you have handy. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let the rice and stock bubble away for 5 minutes.
While the rice is bubbly away, take two large cod fillets and cut them in half, so you have four evenly sized pieces. Season the fish front to back with salt and pepper and set them aside. Let’s get back to the rice.
By now the rice should have absorbed about half of the liquid. Stir in the spinach puree, a cup of frozen peas, and the green beans you chopped earlier. Stir everything together and place the cod fillets on top. Cover and let simmer over low for 10 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and the fish flakes easily.
Take the skillet off of the heat. And don’t dawdle, the cod can get quite dry if you expose it to too much heat for too long. Top the fish with dollops of yogurt, some sliced hot red peppers, and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. I also added a light smattering of Kashmiri chili powder for a little extra color – totally optional.
And that really is everything you need to know about this Green Cod Rice Skillet. This dish is so simple to put together, relatively healthy, and I dare say a welcome change of pace from stilton and potatoes.
Green Cod Rice Skillet
- 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 Food Processor
- 1 small saucepan
- 1 yellow onion coarsely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 knob fresh ginger peeled
- 142g (5oz) baby spinach
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro tightly packed
- 2 tbsp neutral oil I used canola oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder **
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 2 3/4 cups fish or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large cod fillets cut in half
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 200g (7oz) green beans cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup full-fat yogurt
- 2 red pencil hot peppers sliced thin
- Fresh cilantro leaves for sprinkling
- Place the onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and blitz until a smooth paste forms. Transfer the paste to a bowl and set it aside.1 yellow onion, 5 cloves garlic, 1 knob fresh ginger
- Bring a small saucepan of water up to a boil and take it off of the heat. Add the spinach and wait for it to wilt. Drain the spinach and rinse it under cold water.142g (5oz) baby spinach
- Transfer the spinach to a food processor and add the cilantro. Blitz until a smooth purée forms. Transfer it to a bowl and set it aside as well.¼ cup fresh cilantro
- Pour the oil into a large cast iron skillet. Place over medium heat and add the mustard and cumin seed. Fry until the mustard seed begins to sizzle and pop. Stir in the onion purée and a sprinkle of salt. Sauté until the purée turns a golden color. Stir in the chili powder and sauté for a minute more.2 tbsp neutral oil, 1 tsp black mustard seeds, 1 tsp whole cumin seeds, 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder **
- Add the rice to the skillet and toss to coat. Pour in the stock and salt and give everything a good stir. Bring it to a boil and reduce to a spirited simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.1 1/2 cups basmati rice, 2 3/4 cups fish or vegetable stock, 1 tsp salt
- While the rice is cooking, sprinkle the cod fillets on both sides with salt. Do the same with fresh ground pepper. Set aside.2 large cod fillets
- Add the spinach purée, green beans, peas, and honey to the skillet. Stir to combine and arrange the fillets on top. Drizzle with the olive oil and cover. Simmer for 7-10 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and the cod flakes easily.1 cup frozen green peas, 200g (7oz) green beans, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp olive oil
- Take the skillet off of the heat and top with yogurt, hot red peppers, cilantro, and additional Kashmiri chili powder for color. Serve immediately.⅓ cup full-fat yogurt, 2 red pencil hot peppers, Fresh cilantro leaves