Do you ever get bored of your favorite seasonings? Every now and then I realize that I’ve Cajun-spiced a dish for the millionth time that week – approximately – and decide I should try to reach for something else. Then I stand blankly in front of my herbs and spices drawer and reject everything, one jar at a time. This is where pre-mixed spice blends are a lifesaver. Sometimes I make my own; sometimes I buy something at the store because it sounds intriguing. Now, if you are strictly paleo, you DO have to be careful to make sure there’s no sad-panda-face-inducing hidden sugar, so read your labels. Anyways, I picked up a jar of Moroccan seasoning a few weeks ago and hadn’t used it yet. And I figured I should probably do something different with the cod I’d bought rather than making yet another delicious, but repetitive, fish stew with it. I also had some broccoli I wanted to use up by roasting, which meant my oven was going to be too hot to bake the cod. So I had to come up with a way of cooking it on the stove; which would be fine if I didn’t have a new stainless steel pan that everything was still sticking to (grrrr). So I decided I needed to poach the fish; and thus this delicious Moroccan cod dish was born! Aside from a few minutes of prep for the broccoli at the beginning, this dish takes about 25 minutes to cook in total, during which time you can do the other bits of prep needed. So it should be on the table in 30 minutes or so. Definitely a bonus on a weeknight.
So, first off, I preheated my oven to 425F for the broccoli, which I roughly chopped and threw into a bowl. I drizzled it with olive oil (because my coconut oil was solid, haha) and tossed it with a little garlic and some red pepper flakes. Once it was evenly coated I spread it out in a single layer on a baking tray.
Once the oven got to temperature, I threw it in on the middle shelf. Since I had a spare half onion in my crisper which I wanted to add to my poaching liquid, but didn’t want to be raw when I did so, I sliced it up and tossed it in a little olive oil, too. And put that in it’s own baking dish next to the broccoli.
Next I needed to prep my fishy. I had just over a pound of fish, all at slightly different thicknesses, so I chopped it into three pieces according to thickness: the thicker end was smaller than the middle, which was smaller than the tail end. Then I laid it out on a chopping board and seasoned it pretty liberally with my Moroccan spice blend and a little salt.
By now, the broccoli oven had been going for about five minutes so I had to get going on my poaching liquid. Usually you use milk or cream or wine… all of which I didn’t want to eat and weren’t exactly paleo. So I subbed in some coconut milk and a splash or two of chicken stock. I chopped up a handful of fresh cilantro and added that to the coconut milk on the stove, which I had on a gentle heat.
Next I sprinkled some more spice mix onto the coconut milk – which actually looked kind of pretty!
By now, the coconut milk was beginning to simmer a little and the oven had been going for 10 minutes or so – enough to soften the onions. So I took those out of the oven and added them to the poaching liquid…
…and mixed it all together ready for the fish, turning it up a little so that it was almost at a boil.
Once broccoli had been in for about 15 minutes, I added my fish, basting the top with a little of the liquid and topping the pieces with the onions to help it cook evenly, as the coconut milk did not cover the fish. Then I partially covered it and let it simmer – gently – for about 10 minutes. At this point, I uncovered the pan, flipped the fish and checked seasoning and for doneness. When I realized that the fish was almost done, I turned the oven up to 450F to crisp the edges of the broccoli for the last few minutes. Pro tip on telling if your fish is done: pierce it with a fork for a few seconds and then feel the temperature of the fork: if it’s warm, cook a little longer, if it’s almost hot, it’s done, and if it’s hot, well… it’s overdone. Sorry 😛
I also checked the seasoning and decided it needed a little more “oomph”, so added a generous extra shake of spices which the fish finished cooking.
Once the Moroccan cod was done, I removed it from the heat and plated it on some crispy roast broccoli, with a little of the sauce drizzled on top. Yum.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Toss broccoli florets in olive oil with preferred seasonings, lay out on a baking tray in a single layer.
- Toss the onion slices in a little olive oil and place in a separate baking tray / dish.
- Put both broccoli and onions into the oven on the middle shelf.
- Chop your cod in three evenly sized pieces and season on both sides with Moroccan spices; add salt if you wish. Set aside while you prep the poaching liquid.
- To a large saute pan, add your coconut milk, chicken stock, chopped cilantro, ras el hanout and bring to a simmer. Once the onions have been in the oven for 10 minutes, remove them and add these to the poaching liquid also.
- Once the broccoli has been in the oven for 15 minutes, make sure the poaching liquid is at almost a boil before adding the cod. Ladle some poaching liquid over the fish and top with some of the onions. Partially cover it with a lid, leaving a little room for steam to escape, and let it simmer (turn down if you need to) for 10 minutes.
- Check the broccoli: if it's done, turn off the oven, and if not, feel free to turn oven up to 450F to finish crisping the edges. Test cod for doneness (see note above) and if it needs a little more time, flip the fish so that both sides have been finished in the liquid.
- Plate the cod on top of the roasted broccoli and serve.
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