Slashed and roast cod with chorizo, rosemary & purple-sprouting broccoli
Roasting a whole fish is so easy – it’s the sort of thing I do when I’m pushed for time. A fish big enough for four or six people won’t take much longer than 30 minutes to prepare and cook, making it an incredibly practical and stress-free way to feed a crowd. I always like to bring the whole fish to the table and let people help themselves, each lifting their favourite bits of flesh from the bone.
You can keep roasted fish as simple as you like, but here I’m getting in a handful of cod’s great friends: hot paprika-spiked chorizo, sliced garlic, and rosemary. As the fish comes out of the oven, I tumble some purple-sprouting broccoli through all that goodness in the tray.
1 whole cod (about 1.5–2kg/3lb 5oz–4lb 8oz), scaled, gutted and cleaned
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling
250g (9oz) good-quality air-dried chorizo sausage juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 or 3 rosemary sprigs
400–500g (14oz–1lb 2oz) purple-sprouting broccoli
1 knob of butter salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Dry the fish well inside and out. Use a sharp knife to slash each side of the fish 3 or 4 times, on each side, cutting all the way down to the bone, this will help the heat work into the fish and speed up the cooking time a little. Oil a shallow roasting tray big enough to accommodate your fish. Place the cod on the tray then season it all over with salt and pepper and rub in the olive oil. Place the tray in the oven and cook the fish for an initial 10 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a pan of salted water to the boil for the broccoli, but don’t put it in just yet. Peel the papery skin from the chorizo and cut it into 1–2cm rounds. Remove the roasting tray from the oven and scatter over the chorizo, lemon zest and garlic slices, and the rosemary sprigs. Try to wedge a little bit of everything into the slashes in the cod and to tuck a little bit under the fish, too. Return the roasting tray to the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. (If the white meat lifts away from the bone, it’s cooked.)
While the fish is cooking, boil the purple-sprouting broccoli for 2–4 minutes, until the stalks are just tender. Drain well, then when the fish is ready, add it to the tray, along with the butter and lemon juice. Turn the broccoli through the oily chorizo and garlic, taking care not to break it up.
Bring the tray to the table with a stack of warm plates, some roast or sauted potatoes and a good salad.
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