I love fish and I like to eat a lot of it. I normally eat it a la "poele" which means cooked in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil or butter a few minutes on each side, and you are good to go. Easy, healthy and somewhat quick. I could eat this very often. According to my boyfriend, too often. He’s not a big fan! Sad face.
I had to come up with a different way to present plain old Cod to him. Suddenly I remembered that when I studied al Lenôtre we once made a fish clafoutis of some kind. I remember being so positively surprised I ate the whole thing without breathing. My teacher at the time was a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (best craftsman of France, which is the highest distinction a Chef can get here. It’s a huge deal!), so obviously his clafoutis was heavenly, perfect I would say. With this in mind I decided to give it a try and was quite pleased with the results.
By definition, when one thinks of clafoutis, one imagines a dessert, most of the times made with cherries and lots of sugar. Though this is definitely not a dessert the concept remains the same: a filling (I replaced cherries for savoury ingredients) and a batter (I made a savoury batter, kind of like a quiche batter but a little eggier).
By the time I finished I realized the sky is the limit! It’s a good way to introduce new ingredients into a diet, a little disguised, but they are still there. This version is very tasty, and the Espelette pepper gives it an extra something. If you can’t get your hand on this French delicacy you can replace it with paprika, it’s close enough in my opinion.
Espelette pepper comes from a town called Espelette in the French Basque Country, and only pepper produced there can carry this name! In France this is called AOC – Appellation d'origine contrôlée and it’s a big deal. It’s like champagne, only if it’s produced in the French Champagne region it can be named champagne; in Italy this kind of bubbly drink is called prosecco for example. All this to say that it’s something worth buying if you set eyes on it some day at your local French shop.
Also, you can replace the cod with whatever fish you like best. It works well with tuna for example.
For the Clafoutis Batter
Cream 450 g
Parmesan 50 g
Chervil 15 g
Chives 15 g
Salt 15 g
For Cooking the Cod
Cod 800 g
For the Clafoutis
Cod (cooked and drained)
Mozzarella 360 g
Cherry tomatoes 60 u
Chop as thinly as possible the herbs.
In a bowl whisk all the ingredients together. Cover in film wrap and set aside.
Cut the cod in small cubes (they shouldn’t be too small or they risk to disintegrate!) season with salt and Espelette pepper. Cook them in a pan with a dash of olive oil over medium heat. Strain them and let them properly drain. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Cut them in half, season with salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add two crushed garlic cloves. Toss well so that all of the ingredients come together. Transfer onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes approximately.
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celscius.
You can either use one big baking tray, or two medium sized ones or 12 individual moulds. Completely up to you. Because we are only two, I didn’t make all of the recipe off course. I made enough for two people (by dividing the recipe in 2) and went for the individual clafoutis option.
Place in each mould some of the previously cooked cod, topped with grated mozzarella, topped with some cherry tomatoes. Finally fill each mould with the clafoutis batter a little under the border.
Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until set and lightly coloured.
Each oven is different so keep an eye on the clafoutis. I turned around the baking tray half way through the cooking time. This way I make sure they will cook evenly.