I tasted a real Basque country dinner when sommelier Mikel Garaizabal recently visited Miami. He told me that they only serve fresh ingredients with lots of vegetables and rarely add pasta or rice to the meal. He served a typical dish of fresh cooked cod with a salsa verde. It's a classic Basque sauce made with garlic, white wine, fish stock and lots of parsley. The fish is sauteed, and the sauce is made in the same skillet. So there's only one pan to clean. I created this quick dinner based on the Basque flavors we enjoyed.
Romaine lettuce topped with olives and pepperoncini peppers completes the meal.
I used bought clam juice from the market as a substitute for fish stock in the recipe.
› If you prefer to leave the wine out, just add another 1/2 cup clam juice instead.
› You can use any type of lettuce.
› You can use any type of pickled peppers for the salad.
› To buy: 3/4 pound cod fillets, 1 bottle clam juice, 1 bottle white wine (or one small split of white wine), 1 bunch parsley, 1 small jar pepperoncini, 1 container pitted green olives, 1 container minced garlic, 1 head romaine lettuce, 1 whole-wheat baguette, 1 bottle reduced-fat salad dressing.
› Staples: Olive oil, flour, salt, black peppercorns.
Basque Cod With Salsa Verde
2 tablespoons flour, divided use
3/4 pound cod fish fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup clam juice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups romaine lettuce leaves, torn into small pieces
6 green pitted olives
1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini
2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing
4 slices whole-wheat baguette
Place 1 tablespoon flour on a plate. Add the cod fillets, and coat both sides with the flour. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cod, and saute 2 minutes. Carefully turn fillets over, and saute another 3 minutes. A thermometer should read 130 degrees F. Remove the cod to two dinner plates.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the minced garlic to the skillet. Saute about 30 seconds. The garlic should be golden, not burned. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon flour, and mix until it is absorbed. Add the clam juice, white wine and parsley to the skillet. Stir until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the fish fillets. Place 2 cups lettuce leaves on the side of each plate. Top the lettuce with the olives and pepperoncini peppers. Drizzle the salad dressing over the lettuce. Serve with the sliced whole-wheat baguette.
Yield: 2 servings.
Per serving: 484 calories (38% from fat), 20.2 grams fat (207 grams saturated, 9.6 grams monounsaturated), 72 milligrams cholesterol, 35.7 grams protein, 3.6 grams carbohydrates, 3.9 grams fiber, 632 milligrams sodium.
— By Linda Gassenheimer
Linda Gassenheimer is the author of more than 30 cookbooks, including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook."