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COD CONFIT IN OLIVE OILWhile fried fish is delicious, another excellent way to cook it is as a ‘confit’. To confit, means to cook meat or fish slowly in a large quantity of fat at low temperature (usually around 60°C/140°F for fish). This cooking method was originally devised as a way of preserving meat, as by covering it in a thick, airtight layer of fat, the cooked meat could be kept for a long time. It had to be well salted, as although the low cooking temperature meant the meat was pasteurized, it wasn’t sterilized. Today we no longer have to add extra salt and we confit food more as an alternative way of cooking than to preserve it. It is similar to sous vide cooking but doesn’t require any special equipment. Sous vide is a technique frequently used in chic restaurants and involves putting the food in vacuum-sealed bags and cooking it at a low temperature in a water bath. The advantage of preparing fish as a confit is that it is completely covered in oil and doesn’t dry out, resulting in a very succulent and juicy piece of cod. And you can reuse the oil for other fish dishes.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 1 litre/1¾ pints/4¼ cups light olive oil for frying*
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ½ bulb of garlic, cut in half
  • ½ fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1 red chilli (chile), cut in half lengthwise just below
  • the stalk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • 4 x 150-g/5-oz cod fillets, skinned
  • 400 g/14 oz baby new potatoes, skins on
  • 25 g/1 oz/2 tbsp butter handful of flat-leaf parsley,
  • finely chopped
How to Make It
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, deep saucepan over a low heat and sauté the onion, garlic, fennel and chilli (chile) for 2 minutes without allowing them to brown. Add the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and lemon slices and then pour in the rest of the oil.
  2. Stand a cooking thermometer in the pan and heat the oil until it reaches 60°C/140°F. Lower the cod fillets carefully into the oil, adding more oil if the fish is not completely covered. Fry the fish for about 15 minutes, making sure the temperature of the oil stays around 60°C/140°F.
  3. Put the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 10–15 minutes until tender and then drain and add the butter and parsley. Mix well and keep warm with a lid on the pan.
  4. Drain the cod. Serve it with the onion and herbs and some of the aromatic oil from the pan. Accompany with the potatoes.

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