Fresh Cod with Oranges, Olives and Caper Sauce

Out of deference to my homies back in the Midwest, I probably shouldn’t even mention how utterly magnificent the weather has been here on the Central Coast of California.  We arrived about a week ago with frozen fingers and toes and were greeted with 73 degrees of blue skies and warm sunshine.  It’s been over a week now and the sun has continued to shine unabated, which is really rather shameless given that it was -6 at home this morning.  But guilt has not kept us from long walks on the beach, fish tacos at our favorite stand, and indulging in the freshest seafood imaginable.

Yes, we get amazingly fresh seafood at Whole Foods back home, but goodness gracious, there really isn’t anything quite like listening to the boats and smelling the sea as you pick out some fish for your dinner.  Any chance I can get to stand in front of Giovanni’s fish counter, I take it.  I love that place.  Oh, and they make a killer fish taco too.

So it was that on a gorgeously sunny day last week I walked out of there with some beautifully fresh cod wrapped in fish paper.  As soon as I saw that cod, I knew I wanted this fish to meet up with my favorite sauce of oranges, capers and olives.  And I must say that in the end, they were very happy to meet each other.

The original recipe from Bon Apetit suggests that you bake this in the oven, which works quite nicely, but I find that I prefer to pan roast the fish in a skillet, which gives the fish some nice color before you add the sauce to the pan.  Oh, and that sauce… the sweet citrus of the oranges is the perfect foil for the salty olives and capers.

I also like to serve this over angel hair pasta, which I toss with a little olive oil, fresh herbs and grated parmesan cheese.  I happen to love it when that sauce drips down and mingles with the pasta.  Oh, this is just lovely stuff, especially with the sound of the surf for a little dinner music.

Fresh Cod with Oranges, Olives and Caper Sauce

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from Bon Apetit

Serves 4

1 orange, zest removed and reserved

1/2 cup finely chopped seeded plum tomato

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons minced red onion

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives

1 tablespoon chopped drained capers

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

4 6-ounce fresh cod fillet pieces

12 oz angel hair pasta, cooked according to pkg directions (optional)

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Peel and chop the orange; place in small bowl. Add the tomato and the next 7 ingredients to the chopped orange; stir to blend. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

**Spray 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange cod in prepared dish. Sprinkle orange zest evenly over fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until fish is opaque in center, about 10 minutes. Spoon sauce over fish.

I like to serve this over angel hair pasta that’s been tossed with a little olive oil some fresh rosemary and parsley and a little grated parmesan cheese. 

** I like to pan-sear the fish in a skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side, remove it from the heat, cover with a tight lid and let it sit for 5-8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.