Pappardelle with Cod Cakes in Tomato Sauce

Another exceptional recipe from Chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Each bite reveals a different, subtle spice and surprising flavor. His combination of ingredients and technique yields a superb meal every time. No need to use an expensive Sable Cod - use a less expensive true cod or Lingcod since it will be ground in the food processor. Measuring out all of your ingredients and getting them ready before you start to cook makes the process easy. I used two pans to prepare this dish: one high-sided fry pan for the onions and tomato sauce, and one large non-stick fry pan for the cod cakes. Serves 6.


1/2 c. olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped in large chunks
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1-1/2 lbs. cod, skinless and boneless, roughly chopped into 2" chunks
Breadcrumbs - 3 slices white bread, crusts removed, blitzed in food processor to make crumbs
1 egg, beaten
Preserved lemon using the skin of 1 small lemon, finely chopped
2 T. parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 T. mint leaves, roughly chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 T. harissa
1-1/2 cans chopped tomatoes
2-3/4 c. chicken stock
2 strips peeled lemon skin (use a vegetable peeler)
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 lbs. fresh pappardelle pasta

Using a food processor, make the bread crumbs. Remove to a bowl. Add the onions to the processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat 3 T. of the oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Fry the onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Transfer half of the onion mixture to a small bowl, then add the ginger and spices to the pan with the remaining onion and fry for a minute. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Put the chunked fish in the food processor and pulse a few times to roughly mince. Don't overwork it. Add to the large bowl with the onion and spices, then add the breadcrumbs, beaten egg, preserved lemon, 1/3 each of the parsley and mint, 3/4 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, mix well and shape into 12 cakes about 2-1/2" wide by 3/4" thick. Heat 2 T. oil in a  large nonstick sauce pan on medium-high heat and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. You'll probably have to do this in two batches.

You can make the cod cakes ahead of time; after they're cooked place them on a plate or tray lined with parchment paper, cool, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve, then heat them up for about 10 minutes in the tomato sauce.

Put the reserved onion/garlic mixture into the large (high sided) frying pan that you used to cook them in originally over medium-high heat. Add the harissa and fry for a minute, stirring continuously. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, lemon skin, sugar and 3/4 tsp. salt and bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the rest of the parsley and half of the remaining mint and stir. If serving later, cool the sauce and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, add the cod cakes to the pan with the sauce and cook for about 10 minutes. While the sauce and fish are heating, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, return to the pan and mix in 1 T. olive oil. Divide the pasta between six bowls and spoon over some of the sauce and top with two cod cakes per person. Sprinkle with the remaining mint.

– Yotam Ottolenghi recipe in The Guardian