Cod with Turkish Eggplant and Peppers 

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I saw a recipe on for a classic Turkish mezze, which I thought could be the basis for a good one-pot Lenten dinner with the addition of cod (or some other seafood) and some good bread.  It was in fact very tasty.   This recipe is for 4 servings.  (In fact, we made 4 servings of the Turkish mezze and 2 servings of the cod.  We will repeat this in a few days with the rest of the mezze and some new cod.  Cooked fish does not make great leftovers.)

For the eggplant and peppers

1=1/4 lb. Italian eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 Tbs. lemon juice

Kosher salt

2 large Anaheim or similar chilies, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

8 Tbs. cup olive oil, divided

For the tomato sauce

12 oz. large ripe tomatoes

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. sweet paprika

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp. kosher salt

For the garlicky yogurt

¾ cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

1 Tbs. olive oil

½ tsp. kosher salt

For the cod (for 4 persons)

4 individual 4-5 oz. pieces of cod

Flour, salt, and pepper

Olive oil, as needed

For garnish

1 Tbs. Italian parsley, chopped

Put the eggplant cubes in a bowl and cover with water.  Mix in the lemon juice and 1 Tbs. of kosher salt.  Put a plate or bowl on top of the eggplant to ensure that they are covered by the water.  Soak for 30 minutes.  Then drain and spread out on a baking sheet, patting them dry with paper towels.

While the eggplant is soaking, make the tomato sauce.  Cut the tomatoes in half and grate the cut sides into a bowl using the large holes of a grater.  Discard the skins.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil with the garlic, paprika and black pepper.  Cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant.  Add the grated tomato and salt.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a thickish sauce is formed.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Make the garlicky yogurt sauce by mixing together in a small bowl the yogurt, garlic, olive oil, and salt.

When the eggplant cubes have soaked and dried, heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet on the stove over medium high heat.  First add 3 Tbs. of olive oil and cook the peppers with a pinch of salt, stirring frequently, until their skins are blistered and the peppers are softened, about 5-8 minutes.  Remove the cooked peppers to a bowl or plate with a slotted spoon.

With the skillet on medium-high heat, add the remaining 5 Tbs. of olive oil and heat until shimmering.  Add the eggplant, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cubes are golden browned and softened.  Reduce the heat to medium if the eggplant seems to be browning faster than it is softening.  When cooked, remove the eggplants to the bowl or plate with the peppers and allow to drain for a few minutes.

Pat the cod dry and powder it with flour and salt and pepper.  Add a little oil to the skillet if needed, and then saute the cod until browned on both sides and cooked through.  Return the peppers and eggplant to the skillet on the side of the cod as it cooks.

To serve, put the cod and the eggplant and peppers on 4 plates.  Spoon ¼ of the tomato sauce over each plate.  Spoon ¼ of the garlicky yogurt over each plate.  Sprinkle each plate with ¼ of the chopped parsley.


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