Winter months have their good things, but if there is a perk, culinarily speaking, it is the arrival of the skrei season. Skrei is the cod at its best: exquisite young cod, sustainably caught in the coast of Norway. To have the quality-label SKREI®, it must be packed within 12 hours of being caught and kept on ice at a temperature of between 0° and 4°C.
When the fresh produce is so good, I simplify the cooking process and the products added, so the flavors and textures are not masked. For this recipe I used the sous vide bath, as it is a very delicate fish, but you can also bake it in the oven. In this case, leave the skin, fry for 2 minutes with2 tbsps. olive oil so the skin gets crispy, and place in the oven dish. Cover with the aioli and introduce in the preheated oven, 350ºF, for 10 minutes.
I buy the whole fish but I use only the loins for this recipe, leaving the thinner parts for my miso cod or fish and chips.
Regarding the aioli, technically it is garlic mayo as it includes egg (true aioli is made only with garlic and oil), but the original one wouldn’t make the nice brown crust.
The fried arugula has an interesting nutty flavor and some bitterness that combines perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.
There are only a few weeks left until the skrei season finishes, so enjoy this fantastic cod while it lasts.
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 skrei loins
½ pound cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh arugula
2 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil (mild flavor; if the flavor is too strong, substitute ½ with other type of vegetable oil)
1 cup olive oil (to fry the arugula, can be filtered and reused)
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. sugar
STEP 1.- Preheat the sous vide bath to 118ºF/48ºC. Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Wash tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, sugar and drizzle with olive oil and introduce in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
STEP 2.- Place the skrei in a bowl or ziplock and cover with brine (1 part salt/15 parts cold water), letting it rest in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Remove from brine and pat dry.
STEP 3.- Vacuum seal the loins separately or in twos, with a few garlic slices and a piece of butter per loin. Don’t use a strong vacuum setting, as it can spoil the texture of the fish when you cook it. Introduce in the sous vide bath and cook for 15 minutes.
STEP 4.- Make the aioli. Place the egg (room temperature), salt, a few drops of lemon, garlic clove cut into pieces and oil in the hand blender container and blend until it acquires a thick texture. (see detailed instructions in our Basics section). If you use a large blender you will need to double the ingredients.
STEP 5.- Preheat broiler to 250ºC. Open the bags and place the skrei loins in an oven dish. Cover with the aioli and introduce in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until they turn golden brown. You can also use a torch for this. In this case, cook them for 20 minutes in the sous vide bath.
STEP 6.- Fry the arugula in a pan with olive oil over medium heat. Be VERY careful, to cover it with a lid or splatter screen as soon as you introduce it in the oil. It will only splatter for a few seconds. Fry it for 1-2 minutes and place on a dish with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
STEP 7.- Plate the skrei loins with the arugula and the tomatoes and serve some extra aioli on the side.
– You can keep the remaining aioli covered in the fridge for a few days and use it to make “patatas aioli”. Boil potatoes, peel them and cut them into large dices. Add salt and aioli to taste and sprinkle with fresh parsley, finely chopped.