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Recipe: Cod with Preserved Lemon and Pine Nut Relish

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Cod with Preserved Lemon and Pine Nut Relish | Photo by Maria Zizka

Cod with Preserved Lemon and Pine Nut Relish

The best part of this recipe is the tangy relish made of preserved lemon, fresh herbs, and toasted pine nuts. It's wonderful spooned over delicately flavored cod, but would also be terrific with salmon or halibut. If you live in a place where it is still chilly outside, consider adding a dollop of crème fraîche on top of the fish.

Serves 3 - 4

1 pound cod, cut into 3 or 4 fillets
½ lemon
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
½ preserved lemon, very finely chopped
1 chile de árbol, sliced, or ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
2 tablespoons chopped chives
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
3 ounces watercress or Persian cress
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the fish on both sides with the zest of the ½ lemon, ¾ teaspoon salt, and lots of black pepper. Set the fish on a plate and let it warm up at room temperature while you make the relish.

In a small skillet set over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring constantly, until they are golden brown. Be very careful not to burn them--pine nuts are expensive! Transfer the toasted pine nuts to a small bowl. Add the oregano, thyme, preserved lemon, chile, chives, and ¼ cup olive oil.

Place a small handful of the watercress leaves on each plate. Squeeze some lemon juice from the zested ½ lemon over the watercress and sprinkle a pinch of salt.

Heat a large, well-seasoned or nonstick pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Swirl in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then place the fish into the pan and cook the first side for 2 minutes. Flip and cook the second side until the fish begins to flake apart and becomes barely opaque all the way through. Depending on your pan, the fish may stick to it a little bit. Don't worry; it's fine.

When the fish is done, immediately place it on top of the watercress salad. Spoon some of the relish over each piece of fish, and serve.

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