Food + Wine

Roasted Cod Puttanesca and my day of unrest

Today is Tuesday, yes?  I haven’t the slightest.  My weekend was long, with extra days tacked on to it, and exhausting. And today feels like my Monday.  But… nope. Calendar says Tuesday.  Whatever.  Weird. So I woke up not feeling super today, and really just tried to focus on catching up with much needed rest, sleep, quiet, water, calories… And then that started to get difficult for this busy lady, so then I just started texting people while cry-watching Stepmom on the couch.  (Seriously.  That movie?  Especially as a mom? Ugh. Snot-waterworks.)  I found myself so desperate for communication and chatter at one point, that I had an in-detail text conversation about 80’s and 90’s cartoons with a friend.  Equipped with Youtube video clips.

And now the Captain Planet theme song is playing on loop in the old noggin.

(…and yet I do not know today’s date.)

The thing about me is that I’m a natural busy-minded and bodied individual.  Can’t sit still.  Don’t know how. And my brain is making lists and drawing stick figures even as I type this. But I really do crave relaxation and quiet.  I swear I go into it with good intentions.  And then that lasts about 15 minutes before I’m at the gym (twice), bothering people at work, purging my closet (weekend long project, feels great), and crafting up meal and photo ideas.

And, that my friends, is how this meal came about.

I had just purchased come cod from the market and was just trying to figure out what to do with it.  I figured I’d rather not be slaving over the stove (what with it being my rest day and all 😉 ), so my brain went to baked cod.  And somehow it came up with the idea of taking a Puttanesca sauce, that normally would be served with pasta, and breaking those flavors down to be cooked with the cod.

Fun, yes?

I love deconstruction meals.  They’re some of my favs to write.

Pasta Puttanesca (commonly Spagetti Puttanesca) is a Southern Italian dish hailing from the mid 20th century. And the word Puttanesca literally translates to, ahem, ‘in the style of the prostitute’ (puttana=whore).  The history behind the dish conception varies in detail but essentially those there Italian hookas would fix this sauce because it was so quick and easy (pun intended) either to feed themselves in between, ahem, appointments (gotta keep up that strength, girl!), or to feed the men awaiting their turn.

Exciting, yes?

Puttanesca sauce is basically a spicy tomato based sauce flavored with garlic, anchovies, capers, and olives.  So really, the traditional pasta dish can be made as quick as it takes to boil the noodles, with things straight from the pantry.

Easy, cheap and fast! (pun intended).

But here I’m surrounding cod filets with whole, grape tomatoes, split olives, capers and thinly sliced garlic.  And it’s all roasted in the oven until the fish is just cooked through and the tomatoes have burst a bit to begin to form a sauce around the fish with all its yummy friends in there.  It’s then topped with lemon and fresh herbs.  And I served it over some lentils, but anything would work… couscous, quinoa, rice, barley, farro, potatoes, spaghetti 😉  .

It’s delicious.  It’s summery.  It’s easy.  It’s healthy.

Thanks a ton, ladies!  We all appreciate your service.


4 servings

In a 9×13 inch casserole dish or something similar, drizzle a light coating of olive oil on the bottom and place in…

  • 2-2 1/2 lbs. cod (fresh or frozen is fine, just make sure it’s thawed and at room temperature before cooking) bones/skin removed and cut into 4 equal pieces

Line them up and don’t overlap.

Scatter around the fish the following…

  • a few handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes, whole (I used about 3/4 of a pint)
  • a handful of olives, pits removed and halved (I chose kalamata olives, but any good quality, brined olive would work)
  • a few spoonfuls of capers (I prefer brined and not salt-packed)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

No need for precise placement here, just try to be sort of even about it all.

*poke each of your tomatoes with a knife to help release their juices in the oven*

Squeeze in, at a few places over everything….

  • roughly 1 TB anchovy paste

It will melt with the heat, so don’t worry too much about it, but again- try to scatter it relatively evenly so you don’t have one section heavily anchovied.  The brand I use is Giovanni’s, sold HERE on AMAZON.  It comes in a tube and you just squeeze what you want out, and put it back in the fridge.  (The flavor of anchovies really is just this umami salty flavor and not at all fishy. It’s an excellent ingredient to keep on hand for a variety of uses, and it lasts forever in the fridge)

Season with…

  • kosher salt (remember most of your added ingredients are salty, so keep it on the light side and mainly on the fish
  • a bit of crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like things
  • the zest of 1 lemon

Drizzle it all with good olive oil.

(note- this can be prepped a few hours ahead of time, (UN-SALTED) covered and then refrigerated until ready to cook.  BUT be sure to bring it up to room temperature before you cook it to ensure even fish cooking.)

Place in a preheated 475 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the fish is firm but not dry and the tomatoes have begun to burst and shrivel a bit.

It will smell incredible.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over it all from that previously zested lemon

Sprinkle with an equal (small handful) amount of the following fresh herbs, chopped…

  • parsley
  • tarraagon
  • basil

Allow to rest a bit before serving.

Serve atop your bottom of choosing (pun unintended).  I went for lentils.

. my go-to lentil preparation .

4 servings

In a medium saucepan, add the following…

  • 1 cup lentils (these were the standard green, but I really love the black beluga lentils if you can find them)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • several pinches kosher salt
  • 2 cups water

Bring to a boil.  Cover.  Reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 15-20 min, depending on lentil variety, until done to your liking.  The green ones can get mushy quickly so keep that in mind!

Place a large scoopful on your plate, top with your fish and all the yummies.

Spoon the sauce over everything and enjoy!

Thanks for reading and take care, guys!  Happy Monday! er Tuesday! (right?)


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  • Reply Cher September 4, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Sounds wonderful. Is there a print friendly option that I am not seeing? Love reading your recipe but a basic recipe would be nice for printing.
    Thank you!

    • Reply Everyday Champagne September 4, 2016 at 10:15 am

      Thank you! And there actually aren’t separate printables on my website. I’m happy you like it!

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