Brazilian cod fillet recipe: pan fried paprika cod and fennel moqueca
This delicious paprika cod fillet recipe – inspired by Brazilian moqueca – is the perfect way to bring the Rio fever into your kitchen. We’ll be cooking it to get us in the mood for the Games.
Moqueca is a light, flavoursome Brazilian style fish stew, typically made with tomatoes, onions and coriander, which originates from Espírito Santo in the Southeast of Brazil. Made with fresh cod, zesty lime and aromatic fennel, it’s a truly exotic dish that will get you in the summery, holiday mood (whether or not you’re stuck in the UK with its changeable weather).
This dish is also mercifully lactose and gluten free, which makes it ideal for cooking for friends or relatives with an allergy, or if you have one yourself – we’ll certainly be bookmarking this the next time we’re cooking en masse!
How to cook: Brazilian moqueca cod fillet
1 onion, chopped
1 fennel, sliced
2 garlic cloves, grated
3 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 star anise
Salt and black pepper
185g basmati rice
2 tbsp of tomato purée
1 tbsp of smoked paprika
1 vegetable stock pot, prepared with 300ml water
2 cod fillets
1 Cut the onion in half through the root and peel. Chop half the onion into 1cm pieces and the remaining half into 1⁄4cm pieces. Remove the tops (tubey bits) of the fennel bulb, and leave to the side for later. Cut the remaining fennel in half through the root, then remove the tough root. Cut each half in half again, then slice into 1cm wide slices. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press), finely chop the stalks of the coriander (leave the leaves for later).
2 Bring the 350ml of water to the boil with the star anise and a good pinch of salt. Once boiling, add the rice, turn the heat down, put a lid on for 10 mins, then remove from the heat and leave to rest for 10 mins with the lid on, or until the rest of the meal is ready.
3 Time for the moqueca sauce! Put your bigger pieces of onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil and cook on medium heat for 5 mins, before adding your chopped fennel to the pan. Stir everything together and cook for another 7-10 mins. Season with salt and black pepper.
4 Once the vegetables in the sauce are soft, add the tomato purée, garlic, chopped coriander stalks and half the smoked paprika (use less if you don’t like spice). Cook for another minute, then add the vegetable stock to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down slightly and simmer the mixture for 10-15 mins.
5 Mix the rest of the smoked paprika with a drizzle of oil in a bowl, then add the cod. Season each fillet with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper, then mix until it’s nicely coated in the marinade.
6 To make the salsa, put a drizzle of olive oil in a bowl. Grate in the zest of the lime and squeeze in half the lime juice (use less lime if you’re not a huge citrus fan!); mix together with a fork. Roughly chop the coriander leaves and chop the fennel tops (the ones put aside in step 1), as finely as you can. Put them in the bowl with the lime dressing and your small pieces of onion, then mix everything together.
7 Heat a frying pan on medium-high. Once hot, place in the cod skin-side down, and cook for 3-4 mins before turning over and cooking for 3 mins on the other side (you don’t need extra oil in the pan). Tip: To get crispy skin on the fish, don’t move it around while it’s cooking!
8 Add your remaining lime juice to your moqueca sauce and stir together. Serve your rice in bowls with your moqueca sauce. Place your cod on top, then spoon over a generous portion of salsa. Enjoy!