The Michelin-Star Chefs Choosing Cod as Their Focal Ingredient – Luxury Travel Magazine
Fresh, slightly sweet and with a delicate flaky texture, cod is famously the champion of fish and chips. But an increasing number of Michelin-star chefs are finding this soft white fish capable of so much more.
Across the globe, seafood restaurants are beginning to develop their own twist on cod that moves away from classic staples. From the French dish ‘brandade de morue’ (creamed salt cod), to the Italian recipe for ‘mousse di stoccafisso’ (cod mousse), the possibilities of using cod in fine dining are limitless.
Michelin-star chef Dominic Chapman has devised particularly new and innovative ways to prepare cod. Once a head chef for Heston Blumenthal, Chapman now raises traditional dishes to rarefied heights by paying fierce attention to detail. One of his latest recipes pairs crimped cod with oyster sauce. Accompanied with samphire, this pan-fried crispy cod dish swirls in foaming butter with rich aromatics.
The recipe also calls for fresh muscles and cockles, with borage flowers as a garnish. Chapman explains that preparing the dish in this way ensures the cod remains ‘fantastically flaky’. Yet to bring out the depth of flavors in this dish, it is important to pair the meal with a glass of white wine, such as an Assyrtiko, which has a high natural acidity to balance the delicate, buttery elements of the dish.
Others, such as Michelin-star chef Agnar Sverrisson prefer to balance the delicate flavor of cod with spicy chorizo and creamy avocado. Sverrisson’s dish is then topped with a seafood sauce of squid, olives, peppers, and tomatoes. The dish is best enjoyed with a chilled glass of German Riesling.
Yet, one of the most well-loved ways to prepare this fish is to salt it. This is a comfort food on the Iberian Peninsula, where it is called bacalao in Spain or bacalhau in Portugal, and there are over a thousand ways to prepare salted cod. It can be baked, pan-fried, made into fritters (pictured below), turned into stew, or shredded for salad. And that’s just touching the surface.
The joy of salted cod is that the salting and drying process changes the flavor, intensifying it. For this reason, salted cod is a popular component in many seafood restaurants around the world. For example, the great Italian chef Eugenia Boer offers a playful twist on the classic salted cod recipe. Incorporating fresh tomato, this Michelin-starred version includes punchy flavors from purées made from black garlic and Taggiasca olives. Intrigued? Try Boer’s salted cod dish at his restaurant Essenza in Milan, best enjoyed with a versatile wine such as a dry Iberian white or Provençal rosé.
These recipes by Michelin-star chefs have begun to dramatically change how cod is prepared and enjoyed. But one of the most exquisite cod dishes is made by two-Michelin-star chef Claude Bosi at his Bibendum restaurant in London. Creating classic French fish dishes with a modern spin, one of Bosi’s most famous recipes is Cod à la Grenobloise. This dish pairs cod with a brown butter and bread-infused sauce, set on top of crushed potatoes and topped off with punchy capers. As a milder fish, cod is particularly delicious when prepared in this way, enabling the diner to appreciate the fish’s subtle flavor.
Like most simple dishes, this one depends heavily on the quality of the ingredients. For this reason, it is important that the chef turns to only the most trusted suppliers. One such supplier is industry-leader Norebo. Committed to supplying fish as nature intended – with nothing taken, and nothing added – Norebo fillet and freeze their fish at sea just hours after it has been caught to preserve the freshness and natural quality of their MSC-certified Atlantic and Pacific cod. Seeking to keep the gentle spirit of Claude Bosi’s Cod à la Grenobloise recipe intact, it is vital that only the best ingredients are used.
The days of cod as the preserve of fish and chips has long since passed, with Michelin-star chefs across the world now choosing to use cod as a focal ingredient in their recipes. Transforming this classic ingredient to rarefied heights, Michelin-star chefs such as Dominic Chapman and Claude Bosi show that the possibilities of cod in fine dining are truly limitless. As seafood restaurants worldwide continue to experiment with cod, gastronomes wait with bated breath to see what will come next.