Grilled Salt Cod and Avocado Salad with Hot Peppers

The flavor of the chilies is more important here than their heat, so I have chosen poblano chilies, seared over the fire to remove the skin and cooked a bit to bring out the flavors. If you cannot find poblanos, use Anaheims, either red or green.

Make your own salted cod, especially since a lightly salted piece of fish is more suitable for this dish. If you buy it, get the kind that comes in boxes because it is fleshier and less dry than a whole fish and prepare it.

This recipe is for a main course for lunch or a summer supper. Use a smaller piece of fish if serving it as a first course.

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces fresh cod, each 4 ounces (about 2 inches thick)
  • 4 cups wet brine
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 3 fresh poblano chilies
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 10 leaves fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon chipotle chili puree (canned is fine)
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup warm shrimp sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the pieces of cod in a 4-to 6-inch-deep dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the cold brine over them, cover with cling-wrap, and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours. Then wipe the fish pieces dry, rinse and dry the dish, and put the fish back in it along with the olive oil and thyme. Rub this mixture all over the fish and let sit for an hour.

Meanwhile, roast the chilies over a flame until the skins are blistered all over. Put them in a dish, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Then take out the stems and seeds, and scrape off the blistered skin. Chop the chilies coarsely.

Put the sour cream in a bowl with the mint and the chipotle puree, mix well, and taste for salt.

Halve the avocados, scoop out the flesh in one piece with a spoon, and slice them across in -inch pieces. Fan the halves out lengthwise on chilled plates, and slice down their centers again lengthwise, pushing each piece apart to leave a space in the middle for the fish.

Wipe the thyme off the fish, salt and pepper the pieces, and grill or broil 5 to 10 minutes, or until the flesh just starts to lose its translucency in the center. Put the fish in the center space of the avocados, spoon some of the shrimp vinaigrette over the fish and avocado, and put a dollop of the chipotle cream on top of each piece of fish.