Southern Italian Cod Loins with Olives and Fresh Tomatoes

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Growing up in Southern Italy, I had the privilege of being surrounded by exceptional home cooks and bakers. My mom was a stay-at-home mom so she had ample time for cooking, and my dad was a produce merchant, so our home was frequently filled with seasonal produce. We also had a small plot of land, which contained olive trees; it was just big enough to produce our yearly supply of olive oil and a few extra pounds of olives for curing and eating. This recipe was one of our favorites, which utilized some of the olives from our trees. In Italy, we used baccala, which is salted cod; we’d soak it for a few nights prior to cooking it. Here in the States, baccala is a bit harder to find so we use thick cod loins, instead, as they are equally as good and readily available.

1 medium Onion
4 Tbsp. Olive oil
¾ lb. Cherry tomatoes
Fresh parsley
Fresh basil
1 C. Water
½ C. Olives (black or green)
1 tsp. Oregano
Salt to taste – about 1 tsp.
1 ½ lb. Cod loins

Start by preparing your “sughetto” or base for your cod loins. Finely chop your onion and add it to the pan with your olive oil. Turn heat to medium and cook the onion in the oil for about 1–2 minutes. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the pan. Allow these to cook for about 3–5 minutes until they “pop.” Add some chopped parsley and basil to the pan and stir. Add the 1 cup of water, cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, cut your olives in half. Add them to the sauce; also add your oregano and salt and cook the olives for a few minutes. Finally, add the cod loins to the pan and cook for 18–20 minutes, scooping some of the sauce in the pan over the fish during the cooking process. The fish is ready to eat and can be served with some crusty Italian bread. The sauce also makes a great condiment to some pasta.