This is a North African-influenced version of the cod loin with a tapenade crust I talked about a couple of months ago.
Again, it makes for a quick and easy supper and the flavours are really zingy – just right for giving your palate a tickle on an autumn evening.
It has a triple hit of lemon flavours – salted preserved lemon, fresh lemon and a lemon chilli.
If you don’t have lemon chillies any small medium-hot chilli will do nicely. You’re looking for a buzz of chilli heat but you don’t want to overpower the fish.
This mix, used here as a topping, would also make a good stuffing for mackerel or sardines.
Cod loin with preserved lemon
2 pieces of cod loin (the thick, middle part of the fillet)
A double handful of fresh white breadcrumbs
1 preserved lemon, juice squeezed and retained, flesh discarded, the peel fairly finely chopped (you don’t want a puree)
6 black olives, preferably the marinated sort, not the tasteless ones in brine, chopped
Zest and juice of half a fresh lemon
1/2 small lemon chilli (or any small medium-hot chilli), deseeded and chopped fine
6 sundried tomatoes, chopped, and 1-2 tbsps of their oil
Small bunch of parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6
Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients, including the juice from the preserved lemons. You need enough liquid – oil and lemon juice – to make it cling together enough to stick to the fish, no more.
Put the cod loins in a lightly greased oven tray and press the mixture firmly onto the fish.
Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish fillet.