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Plate This: Seared Salt Cod with Bean Purée & Chorizo

Plate This is a Tablecrafter series on cooking seemingly complex restaurant food that regular folks can actually do at home with available tools.

Cold fish, notorious for falling apart and sticking to the skillet, tend to form chemical bonds with metal when heated. To make things even trickier, this bond easily overpowers the bonds holding the fish together. In many cases, you might end up leaving more fish on the pan than on your plate. How do you avoid this?

Cod belongs to the tender, meaty variant of fish. Pan-searing fends off the more common issues when it comes to cooking cod. You can always resort to deep frying it of course, but doing that will take out its delicate flavor and flaky texture.

Smoked paprika, garlic cloves, spring onions, chorizo, and cherry tomatoes.
Spinach leaves, stems discarded

This recipe will teach you how to bring out the flavor of cod and balance it with the zing of the garlic confit, the earthiness of the bean purée, and the freshness of the spring onions and spinach.

Seared Salt Cod with Bean Purée and Chorizo

Yield: 2 servings
Time: 1½ hours (30 min for prep / 1 hour for cooking / 30 min for marinating)



  • 2-120g cod fillets, skinned and deboned
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning

bean purée

  • 1-420g can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • ½ tsp salt

chorizo beans

  • 1-420g can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup chorizo, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika


  • ⅓ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ¼ cup young malabar spinach leaves, stems discarded
  • 1 small bunch green onions, roots trimmed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

garlic confit

  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

    Procedure: Bean Purée

    1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until they are completely soft and translucent, about six minutes.
    2. Add the drained beans, cream, and salt. Continue to cook for five minutes more.
    3. Pour into a blender and pulse the mixture until it is smooth. Reserve for plating.

    Procedure: Chorizo Beans

    1. Put the chopped chorizo into a cold, shallow pan.
    2. Gently heat the chorizo until the fat renders and the chorizo begins to brown, about five minutes.
    3. Increase the heat to medium. Add the paprika and kidney beans. Sauté for three minutes more.
    4. Pour in the stock. Reduce the liquid until the beans are only slightly wet and the liquid is very thick, about four to five minutes. Reserve for plating.

    Procedure: Garlic Confit

    1. Add all the ingredients into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
    2. Put the range on the smallest and lowest possible setting.
    3. Cook the garlic for about 30 minutes, or until they are completely soft and sweet. Do not let the cloves brown. Intermittently turn the heat on and off if necessary. Reserve for plating.

    Procedure: Garnishes

    1. Spread the vegetables on a tray. Sprinkle with oil and salt. Set the tomatoes aside for plating.
    2. Arrange the spinach leaves on a tray without stacking them over each other. Bake in a an oven preheated to 180°C for four to six minutes, or until they are completely crisp.
    3. Repeat the spinach process for the green onions. Increase the cooking time eight to ten minutes.
    4. Set all the garnishes aside.

    Procedure: Cod

    1. Thoroughly pat the cod dry with paper towels.
    2. Season with salt.
    3. Get a pan smoking hot with vegetable oil. Sear the cod on each side for about three to four minutes.
    4. Season with fresh pepper and set aside for plating.

    Procedure: Assembling the Plate

    At this point, you should have completed all the procedures for each of the components listed above before proceeding with the assembly: bean purée, chorizon beans, garlic confit, garnishes, and cod.


    • Bean purée, pulsed
    • Chorizo beans
    • Garlic confit
    • Garnishes
    • Cod, pan-fried


      1. Smear about a fourth cup of bean purée on the plate.
      2. Spoon over two small mounds of chorizo beans on the purée.
      3. Add three cloves of garlic confit close to the mounds.
      4. Scatter the crisped malabar spinach and green onions.
      5. Put the seared cod next to the beans. Drizzle the confit oil over the beans and fish. Serve immediately.

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