A Simple Yet Complex Greek Dish


Let me elaborate. I realise that something being simple yet complex is an oxymoron. However, in food, as in literature, sometimes a few simple things can produce something so complicated that you feel certain that the chef/author must have spent hours labouring over it.
Last night’s supper was one of those occasions. When I read cookbooks, it’s not just for fun or to lull me to sleep, promising me dreams of quinces and gilded gooses. In fact, I mentally compartmentalise dishes for future preparation. Somewhere in the dusty recesses of my brain, filed under ‘Recipes for Future Preparation’ are just that, recipes like the one I prepared last night, Greek Potatoes with Cod from Tamasin Day-Lewis's Good Tempered Food. I say prepared rather than cooked because the dish cooked itself really. It’s complexity lies within the fusion of good quality olive oil, onions, garlics, salt, pepper and long, slow cooking in the oven.
Like Cabbage Stuffed in the Troo Style or even a baked potato lubricated with unsalted butter, the fewer the ingredients, the greater the harmony between the flavours. Italian cooking has always utilised this theory. It is amazing how some butter, perhaps some chopped parsley, freshly ground pepper and flurry of icy sea salt flakes can transform a mediocre lunch into something fantastic.
Greek Potatoes with Cod has become an instant family favourite because it combines two of my favourite things: potatoes and an easy after work meal that tastes exciting and wholesome. I served it with homemade cheats mushy peas (in fact, better than non-cheats mushy peas in my opinion) but a simple salad and some bread to mop up the oily, thyme-infused juices would be just as good.

Ingredients (serves 2)
For the Potatoes:
800g Potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters longwise
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
Juice of Organic (unwaxed) Lemon
150ml good quality Olive Oil
Small handful fresh Thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper
Water to cover
For the Cod:
500g Cod Loin or Fillet
Little Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Butter for greasing the dish

METHOD:Preheat oven to 200c.
Lay the quartered potatoes in a roasting dish, so they fit snuggly but in one layer. Strew with the onion, garlic and thyme, season well, then anoint with the lemon juice and olive oil. Pour water over the potatoes until just covered. Cook in preheated oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes, then turn potatoes over. Cook for about another 45 minutes, or until cooked through.
15 minutes before the potatoes are done, heavily grease a baking dish, lay the cod loin in the dish, skin side down, season well, drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the flesh starts to flake away and a sharp knife goes through the fish without any resistance.
Serve, spooning the potato, onion and garlic scented oil over the cod.

CHEATS MUSHY PEAS:Ingredients:
Enough mushy peas for two
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 tsp Vegetable or Chicken Stock Powder (Bouillon is a good organic brand) or use some fresh stock if you have some.
Dessertspoon Creme Fraiche
Large knob unsalted butter
Salt and Pepper
METHOD:Cover the mushy peas and garlic cloves with water and the sprinkle over the stock powder or liquid. Cook for about 2-4 minutes until defrosted and thoroughly warm.
Drain peas and garlic (reserving about 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquor). Put into a blender, with a tablespoon of the reserved liquor, and all the other ingredients. Blend until the peas are at the consistency you like. You may like them really smooth like a puree, or a bit lumpy. This takes no more than a few seconds in the blender. Taste for seasoning, add more stock if needed. Serve with the above Greek Potatoes and Cod or just plain Fish and Chips!

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