Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.
Every staffer at BA has a recipe that they are most associated with. Alex Delany loves these sambal skewers. Emily Schultz makes Healthyish’s yogurt flatbread on the reg. When I think of Christina Chaey, I think of this steamed fish. Carey Polis loves this sausage, greens, and beans pasta. Me? It is, without a doubt, this easy cod recipe: Slow-Cooked White Fish with Charred Cabbage.
“Oh, you brought in your cod thing,” is a comment I get from nosy coworkers at least once a week as I sit down with my lunch. Because yes, I make this recipe, which was originally developed by Andy Baraghani for Healthyish’s Feel Good Food Plan, about that often. But that’s because this recipe is highly adaptable, super simple (only seven ingredients!), and exactly what I crave on a Monday when I spent the weekend eating whatever the opposite of “Feel Good Food” is.
First, there’s the “slow-cooked” cod. I used quotation marks there because I don’t want to lose you with that term. When it comes to a firm, white fish like cod, slow-cooked really means 15 minutes in the oven. Easy! Rub the filet with olive oil, zest some grapefruit on top, season with salt then throw it in the oven. The end result is a perfectly-flaky, bright-tasting piece of fish.
Next, the charred cabbage. Which is 100 percent my favorite way to cook cabbage. You tear about a quarter of a head of the green stuff (I’ve tried using purple here, it’s not as good) into pieces and cook in a pan over medium-high heat. Do! Not! Move! Them! The goal here is to really get good color on each ripped piece. Stir for a second, season, and then let them sit a little longer. Et voilà: super flavorful, sorta-smoky cabbage that only took five minutes to make. Add it to your plate. Top with some grapefruit rounds. Add the flaked cod. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil. Crack lots of fresh pepper. And that’s it! Extreme infomercial voice: But wait! There’s more!
Since I make this thing every damn week I’ve tried out a whole lot of modifications and swaps. I pretty much always add torn Castelvetrano olives, cilantro, and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper. When the store only has sad-looking cod, I’ll swap in a handsome hunk of salmon. I’ve also been known to char some shishito peppers before the cabbage when I’m feeling spicy-ish. So many options! If I was doing a TED Talk, I’d say some inspirational line about how the possibilities are endless with this perfect recipe, and it’s up to you to take advantage of them. But I’m not. I’m just here writing about the Cod Thing. My Cod Thing.