Summer Recipes: Gail Monaghan’s Pan Roasted Cod with Tomato Caper Salsa

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Cookbook author, teacher, and food historian Gail Monaghan is one of Manhattan’s culinary jewels. Monaghan hosts the Wall Street Journal Digital Network’s “Cooking Confidential with Gail Monaghan,” and is a food columnist in the Wall Street Journal Off-Duty Section.

As if that was not enoug, Monaghan has also served as Editor on both Lora Zaubin’s James Beard Award-winning cookbook, I am almost always hungry, and James Beard Award-winning chef Jeremiah Tower’s “Jeremiah Tower Cooks”. Her most recent culinary works include the highly acclaimed “The Entrees” and “Lost Desserts”. She has written 2 other books including “Some Like it Hot”, and “Perfect Picnics for All Seasons”. She is a regular guest on ABC’s “The Chew”, and has cooked alongside Daphne Oz, Carla Hall, Michael Symon, and Mario Batali, among others.

Monaghan shared with us her pan roasted cod recipe. She told us that“this is my go-to favorite when it’s hot and I’m busy but in need of something quick, easy, make-ahead and unusual to cook for summer company. Although it’s also great served warm, when eaten at room temperature, this yummy cod-cum-salsa provides cooling refreshment in hot weather. Whether for lunch or dinner, bake the cod and throw the salsa put together in the morning; you’ll have ample time to cool off with a shower or an invigorating swim before mealtime. The salsa—citrus and capers enhancing a mélange of tomatoes, fresh fennel, shallots and basil– won’t overheat the kitchen as it’s no-cook. If you are dead set against turning on the stove, you can replace the cod with swordfish or salmon steaks and grill them outdoors. In any case, make extra as the leftovers (the salsa alone or the salsa and flaked fish) are great tossed with pasta the next day. Enjoy!”

Pan Roasted Cod with Tomato Caper Salsa
Serves 8


For Fish

  • 4 pounds cod fillet, skinless and in one piece, at room temperature
  • Approximately ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe Tomato Caper “Salsa”
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped parsley and/or snipped chives for garnish

For Salsa

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • squeezed juice of the two zested lemons plus enough more to equal 6
  • tablespoons
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • juice of the zested orange
  • 1/4 cup salted capers previously soaked for an hour or more in several
  • changes of cool water
  • 1/4 cup julienned basil
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and sliced paper thin
  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small bulb fresh fennel, trimmed and very thinly sliced (optional)


For Fish

  1. Place a baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and preheat oven to 500F.
  2. While the oven is preheating, rub the fish all over with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the very hot pan from the oven, and very quickly lay the fish on the pan. It will sizzle. Return to oven and bake about 15 minutes or until done. You will know that the fish is done because the juices running from it into the pan will be white and opaque instead of clear. If in doubt, cut into the fish. It should be flaky.
  4. Transfer to a large platter and pour pan juices over the top. Top wit the “salsa” and then scatter the fresh herbs over all.

For Salsa

  1. Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl up to 5 hours before serving. Do not refrigerate.
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