This pancetta-wrapped cod with blistered tomatoes and lentils is fancy enough for a dinner party yet easy enough for a weekday meal.
There was this recipe my husband used to make for us a lot a few years back – pancetta-wrapped monkfish on a bed of brown lentils. I tried to find the original recipe, pulling out all my seafood cookbooks, but my search proved fruitless. I was convinced it was a Rick Stein recipe but apparently not… and looking through all my cookbooks could take months.
It doesn’t matter much where the recipe comes from however – it is very easy to replicate without looking it up! I have used cod loin instead of monkfish and added a few cherry tomatoes to the mix. They get soft and slightly charred in the oven releasing all their wonderful juices as they do.
As for the lentils, these are fantastic with any number of dishes from fish to meat – it’s always useful to have some cooked in the fridge to complete a meal during the week. If you don’t have time to cook them – they take around 30-40 minutes – there are plenty of microwaveable options on the market right now (Merchant Gourmet is my favourite).
As for wrapping the cod in pancetta – pretty much ANYTHING wrapped in pancetta will look and taste pretty awesome, from salmon to chicken to meatloaf… In fact, you could make this recipe using chicken breasts but they will take a bit longer to cook, so it would be best to throw the tomatoes in halfway through the cooking.
Which reminds me of the meatloaf recipe I keep meaning to share on this blog. The last time I made it, I had lined the tin with pancetta and then realised I was late picking up the kids from school. I run out, picked them up, and when I got home found the pancetta had disappeared! Our dog Brutus was looking very sheepish so I think you can guess where it went…
- For the lentils
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large leek finely diced
- 2 large carrots peeled and finely diced
- 2 sticks celery finely diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 300 g | 10 1/2 oz brown or Puy lentils well rinsed
- 600 ml | 2 1/2 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
- For the cod
- 4 cod loin fillets
- about 20 slices pancetta
- you might need more depending on size of the fish
- 200 g | 7oz cherry tomatoes
- handful fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper to season
- olive oil to drizzle
- fresh oregano or thyme or basil to garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a pot and fry the leek, carrots, celery and garlic over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the lentils and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook for about 30-40 minutes for brown lentils and around 20-30 for Puy lentils.
- Check the lentils are cooked through and season to taste.
- Meanwhile prepare the cod. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F), line a large tray with baking paper and drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Pat the cod dry with some kitchen paper then wrap in the pancetta slices.
- Place the cod fillets on the prepared tray and scatter the tomatoes and basil leaves around them. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat to 200F (400F), place the tray in the middle oven shelf and roast for 20 minutes or until the cod is firm and cooked through and the tomatoes blistered.
- Pour any juices from the tomatoes in with the lentils. Divide the lentils and tomatoes between four plates and place the cod over them. Garnish fresh oregano and serve.
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