taste & create: walnut-crusted cod with parsnip puree


the best thing about reading food blogs is all the inspiration you get from seeing how other people cook. inevitably though i never have enough time to try out all the things that tickle my taste buds. however, help now exists in the form of taste & create, an event hosted by nicole from for the love of food, where she pairs bloggers up and then each person cooks something from the other’s blog.

i was paired with valli from more than burnt toast. choosing what to cook was not an easy task – valli’s many greek recipes were particularly tempting. however, having realised that david and i haven’t been eating enough fish recently, i chose her walnut-crusted cod with parsnip puree.

i have to confess, i wasn’t feeling on top of the world when i cooked this earlier today - those final glasses of whisky that i rounded last night off with really weren’t a good idea. however, it all came together easily enough and, as valli promised, the flavours and textures are great and work really well together.

i love the flavours of the walnut and herb crust and its crunchy texture contrasted well with the flaky cod. the puree was incredibly smooth and creamy but a little sweet for me. next time i’d probably serve the dish with some roasted cherry tomatoes to help cut through this.

so, in summary, a delicious healthy meal full of interesting flavours and with a luxurious feel. thanks valli, it was a pleasure to cook as you!

check out valli's version of my Chicken Stuffed with Basil, Mozzarella & Oak-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

walnut crusted cod with parsnip puree* (serves 2)

1 slice of white bread, crusts removed

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

½ a teaspoon of thyme

6 walnut halves, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cod fillets, skinned

butter for greasing

for the parsnip puree:

2 parsnips, peeled and quartered lengthwise

knob of butter

125ml milk

squeeze of lemon juice

cut the bread into cubes, then place in a food processor, blitz until beginning to crumble. add the parsley and thyme until the crumbs are reasonably fine and a rich green colour. season with salt and pepper and add the chopped walnuts. quickly blitz again to crush the walnuts slightly. remove the mixture to a bowl. add the olive oil a little at a time to moisten the texture (the mixture should not be wet and sloppy).

season the cod fillets with salt and white pepper, then cover the flat side (the skinned side) with the crumb mixture. place the cod fillets on a baking sheet. these can now be chilled until needed.

to make the parsnip puree, cut the core from the quartered parsnips (this removes bitterness). cut each piece into 1/2-inch thick pieces. melt the knob of butter in a saucepan and add the parsnips. cover and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring from time to time, and not allowing the parsnips to colour, until just beginning to soften. add the milk and simmer for 15 minutes, until the pieces are completely cooked through. season with salt and white pepper. liquidize the parsnips to a puree. a squeeze of lemon juice can now be added to enliven the flavour, taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly. keep aside ready to reheat.

to cook the fish, preheat the oven to 200c and bake for 10-12 minutes until the fish looks opaque. do not overcook - the fish should feel soft to the touch. finish the fish under a not grill to crisp up the crust. we ate this with some slow –cooked courgettes.

* valli’s recipe is from sylvia jurys cookery school wine & thyme