Cod with Spinach Beet, Tomato and Cornish Winkles


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Today's special: A new take on bistro food

Today's special

By Anthony Demetre

Published 2008

  • About

For the ethically minded, cod has been off the shopping list for some time, but there are now several sources of sustainable cod, be it from colder more northerly waters, like Icelandic cod, or line-caught cod – there is now even highly acclaimed farmed cod from the Shetlands. So do check that your cod comes from a sustainable source.


  • 100 g winkles
  • 100 g butter
  • 4 pieces of cod, each about 160 g
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 200 g spinach beet, stalks separated from the leaves
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 6 plum tomatoes, quartered and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


Wash the winkles in plenty of cold water, then leave to soak in fresh cold water with a tablespoon of salt for about 20 minutes. I find this helps to degorge any sand or grit that they hold.

Drain, cover again with cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes or until they can be easily pulled from the shell. Pull away from the shell and discard the little door or lid (the operculum). Reserve the meat.

Heat a non-stick pan, add 80 g butter and wait until it foams. Add the pieces of cod, together with a splash of olive oil, the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the fish gently, basting frequently. It should take on a nut-brown colour. Finally add the juice of ½ the lemon and baste well. Take off the heat and leave to cool in the pan. Set aside on a separate plate and keep warm.

In the same pan, add the stalks from the spinach beet, season and cook until almost soft. Then add the leaves and finish cooking for a few minutes until these wilt. They will take on all the brown butter and juices from the fish. Set aside and keep warm.

In the same pan, put the remaining butter and olive oil, and fry the shallots for 2 minutes, without allowing them to colour. Toss in the tomatoes and the winkles, together with the lemon zest and parsley. Add a little seasoning and more lemon juice to taste. Serve with the fish and spinach beet.