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Breaded Pan-fried Cod with Roasted Vegetable Israeli Couscous Salad

1 Aug

I finally got around to making the Israeli couscous and vegetable mix I’d been talking about for weeks and weeks.  While it was so good I was kicking myself for waiting, it was so good because it was paired with the gorgeous cod fillet Zak picked up at the grocery store – so I couldn’t really kick myself too hard.  I breaded the cod in a tomato-bread breadcrumb, which tied everything together, as the Israeli couscous also contained tomatoes.  The fish was crunchy, crispy, juicy, and delicious – an excellent companion to the soft, sweet, room temperature couscous and roasted vegetables.

We both really, really loved this.  Zak wanted me to go back and edit his top ten favorites from last year, but I told him there was always next year.  He went back for seconds, and I am currently salivating thinking about the fixings I have for a crispy cod sandwich with some bread and butter pickles and a side of the couscous for lunch.  In fact, this post is actually a two-for-one, because I included the link after the jump.

Truth be told, I could have made an entire post about the delicious bread that made up the bread crumbs that coated this cod.  The light tomato flavor was the perfect partner to the slightly smokey, slightly salty flavor of the proscuitto.  The bread was a gorgeous reddish-pink color and perfectly soft and fluffy.  It was excellent as a snack or a sandwich bread, so if you’re thinking about making this dish, I high recommend you include the tomato-breading, since you will definitely scarf the rest of the loaf.  If not, I’m sure any old bread crumbs will do.

Breaded Pan-fried Cod with Roasted Vegetable Israeli Couscous Salad

Breaded Pan-fried Cod:

1 1 lb. wild-caught U.S. Alaskan cod fillet, cut into 6 pieces

1/4 cup all-natural, whole wheat flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup tomato bread crumbs (see below)

1/4 cup canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 tbs. plain Greek yogurt, for serving

2 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves only, for serving

Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs on three separate plates or shallow bowls.  Season all with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Coat cod fillets with flour, shaking off excess.  Repeat with eggs.  Roll in bread crumbs.  Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow mixture to set.

Heat canola oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron pan.  Add fish with like-size pieces and cook, without touching, about 3-4 minutes for smaller pieces and 5-6 minutes for larger pieces, until breading is golden brown and crispy.  Flip and cook an equal amount of time on the other side.

Work in batches to ensure even cooking, changing out oil if necessary.

Serve with roasted vegetable Israeli couscous salad with plain Greek yogurt and cilantro.

Roasted Vegetable Israeli Couscous Salad:

3 cups homemade chicken stock

1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous

1 medium yellow squash, roughly chopped

1 large tomato, cut into about 8 wedges

4 tbs. olive oil, divided

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400º.

Cover a medium baking sheet with tinfoil.  Toss squash and tomato with 2 tbs. olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Roast in oven about 30 minutes or until caramelized and cooked through.

Meanwhile, bring chicken stock to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan.  Add couscous, reduce heat to low, and cover.  Cook about 8-10 minutes until stock is absorbed and couscous is cooked through.

Toss together couscous and vegetables.  Whisk together balsamic vinegar and remaining 2 tbs. olive oil.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper and toss with couscous mixture.  Let cool to room temperature.

Tomato Bread:

1 cup crushed canned tomatoes (we used homemade from my dad, so if you use store bought, make sure you squeeze them through your hands a few times)

3 tbs. tomato paste

1 slice proscuitto

1 tbs. olive oil

3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 tsp. gluten

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. dry active yeast, proofed/re-hydrated

Non-stick cooking spray

In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil.  Add proscuitto and cook until deep golden brown.  Drain, reserving oil, and mince.

Place reserved oil, proscuitto, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, flour, gluten, salt, and proofed yeast in the bread machine pan.  Set cycle to dough.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 200º.  Turn off heat.

Spray bread pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Place dough in the bread pan and let rise in oven for 45 minutes to an hour until it doubles in size.  Remove from oven.

Preheat oven to 375º.

Bake bread for 30 minutes.  Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Use about 3/4 of the loaf for any desired purpose.  Use remaining end, preferably very slightly stale, to make breadcrumbs by pulsing in food processor until very fine.

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