Thursday, 8 June 2017

Baked Cod with Crispy Gnocchi, Green Beans, Grape Tomatoes and Pesto

Inspired by a potato that was getting a bit soft for anything other than mashing, I came up with this idea. I turned the potato into gnocchi to use as the starch for our fish. Going one step further, I made some spinach and basil pesto (using the basil I have growing in the kitchen window).

I added fresh green beans, the last of them, and some very sweet grape tomatoes, to the gnocchi and then tossed it all with a bit of pesto before serving.

The fish was simple...a bit of salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, a thin strip of zucchini wrapped around the middle, seared and then popped into the oven to finish cooking.

What a great way to use up an old potato and some green beans!

To begin, boil the potato, mash and cool, and then add an egg yolk, salt and pepper. Gradually add enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll into long ropes, and cut off 1/2" lengths to make your gnocchi.

Add them to lightly salted, barely boiling water and cook until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on an oiled baking sheet to cool.

Turn the oven on to 350F.

Pat the cod dry, and lightly season both sides with salt and pepper, and a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Cut a thin strip of zucchini for each piece of fish. Do this by cutting along the length of the zucchini. Use a very sharp knife if you don't have a mandoline, and cut as thinly as possible.

I tucked the thin ends of my fish under to obtain an even thickness.

Wrap a zucchini strip around the centre of each piece of fish and secure with a toothpick.

In a hot pan, using a bit of olive oil, sear the first side of the fish.

Turn the fish and place the whole pan into the oven to bake until done.

While the fish is baking, finish off the gnocchi.

Heat some olive oil in a nonstick pan, and add the gnocchi. Keep the heat medium high.

Season with salt and pepper, gently stirring or tossing to prevent sticking.

When the gnocchi are warmed through, add:

Blanched green beans

Season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring often.

When the gnocchi are golden and crispy, and the beans are heated through, add:

1/4 - 1/3 cup of spinach and basil pesto

Stir to coat the gnocchi and beans.


A handful of grape tomatoes

Stir to coat the tomatoes with pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning.

To serve, divide the gnocchi, green beans and tomatoes between the plates, and place a piece of the hot, baked cod on top. Garnish with toasted pinenuts if you wish, and a lightly sprinkle of grated Parmesan over the gnocchi.

  • Purchased gnocchi can be used.
  • I used the gnocchi cooking water to blanch the beans before cooking the gnocchi.
  • The heat from the gnocchi and beans will warm the tomatoes. This was a compromise between my wanting to add them to the beans and gnocchi and cook them through, and my husband wanting them to be cold. The choice is yours.
  • The amount of pesto you add depends on how much you want on your gnocchi. Any pesto can be used...basil; spinach; red pepper; sundried tomato.
  • I folded the thinner edge of the fish over to create a more even thickness, which helps the fish to bake more evenly. 
  • Wrapping the fish with zucchini is optional. It can also be wrapped with bacon or prosciutto, or left plain.
  • The cayenne pepper gave a suggestion of heat in the background, a nice contrast with the sweet tomatoes.
  • Any fish can be used; try chicken breast, pork, beef or lamb tenderloin, prawns or scallops.

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