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David Burton's baked blue cod recipe - 8 December


David Burton's baked blue cod with saffron tomatoes and Jersey Bennes

Pinch of new season's saffron threads
1/2 cup off-dry Riesling or other white wine
4 large tomatoes
6 medium-small Jersey Bennes or other waxy new potatoes
1 large red onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon dried currants
500g blue cod fillets (substute terakihi or similar delicately textured fish)
2 tablespoons chopped dill
4-6 large sorrel leaves, trimmed of stalks (substitute silver beet)

Preheat oven to 180degC.
Place the saffron threads in a mortar with a splash of the white wine, and use the pestle to grind them to a brilliant orange paste. Work in the rest of the wine.
 Leave saffron to infuse while you get on with blanching and peeling the tomatoes, and washing the potatoes.
Put the potatoes on to boil while you chop the tomatoes into medium dice. Set aside.
Chop red onion very finely. Set these aside too.
Boil potatoes until barely cooked - test with a thin bladed paring knife after eight minutes. Peel, allow to cool a little, then slice thickly. Use some of the olive oil to grease the bottom of a casserole dish or enamel oven dish and arrange in the potato slices in a single layer. Sprinkle  more olive oil and set aside.
Turn on an element to medium-high heat, and make a tomato sauce by sautéing the chopped red onions with the remaining  olive oil, until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown at the edges. Don't burn!
Pour in the saffron-infused Riesling, keep stirring to evaporate some of the alcohol, then add the chopped tomatoes and the currants. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding a scant teaspoon sugar to counter the acidity of the tomatoes only if you have not already relied on a sweetish off-dry Riesling to do this for you.
Cover and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the fish fillets with salt and pepper, finely chop some dill and use to coat each fillet on both sides. 
Wrap each fillet in sorrel (or blanched silver beet).
Place these parcels over the potatoes in the casserole dish, Pour the hot tomato sauce over.
Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
Serves three as a complete meal, with a green salad, incorporating wild watercress into a store-bought mesclun mix.

From David Burton's New Zealand Food and Cookery (David Bateman, hardback, $59.99)


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