Six O’Clock Solution: One pan, one quick cod dinner

Yasmin Fahr favours “one-pot wonders” such as tomato-poached cod.

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“One-pot wonders” are the specialty of New York food writer Yasmin Fahr, who offers more than 60 quick and easy recipes in Keeping It Simple (Hardie Grant/Raincoast, $35.99). From chicken parts to chops, fish fillets to meatless legume meals, the good-looking collection can appeal either to the beginner cook or the veteran interested in turning out a good meal in a hurry.

Fahr wants us all to become better home cooks, an admirable goal in this era of ready-made products and takeout. Her experience includes a master’s in food studies from New York University and years as a travel guide inspector for Forbes. She trims fat and increases helpings of vegetables, and the pages of pantry basics in Keeping It Simple reveal her liking for the cuisines of the Middle and Far East. 

Tomato-Poached Cod

Serves 4

2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil

1 dry shallot, thinly sliced


1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) dried red chili flakes or to taste *

1 can (28 ounces / 796 mL) chopped tomatoes and their liquid **

1 cup (250 mL) low-salt vegetable stock, or water

Freshly ground pepper

4 cod fillets, 5 ounces (150 g) each

1 cup (250 mL) fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves and fine stems, coarsely chopped

Toasted crusty bread

* If you like hot flavours, stir some harissa (1/2 to 1 tablespoon / 7 to 15 mL) into the oil when cooking the shallot.

** Or use whole tomatoes and chop them before adding to the recipe.

Heat oil in a wide, shallow frying pan over medium heat until shimmering (hot enough so surface almost ripples). Add shallot and a little salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Then add garlic and chili flakes, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour in tomatoes and stock, and raise heat until mixture comes to a boil. Then lower heat so mixture simmers, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until liquid is slightly reduced. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle fish with salt and add to the pan of sauce, adjusting heat so mixture simmers gently. Continue cooking until fish is opaque and flakes with a fork, about five minutes, spooning sauce over the fish occasionally. Turn fish over halfway through cooking.

Serve fish in heated bowls, spooning sauce over each fillet. Sprinkle with pepper and parsley.

Serve with toasted bread for dipping.