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Harissa-Crusted Cod with Quick Chickpea, Spinach & Tomato Stew

Harissa-Crusted Cod with Quick Chickpea, Spinach & Tomato Stew
September 2021
Reading time 5 minutes

Having a jar of harissa in your cupboard or fridge really helps when you need something to add some spice and punch to your cooking, and this is a speedy and flavoursome meal that’s perfect for mid-week

Here the harissa adds an aromatic smokiness to the delicate fish. Serve with a side of couscous or slices of fresh bread, if you like.
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • a pinch of ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves,minced
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato purée
  • 2 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
  • 175ml vegetable stock
  • a good pinch of sugar
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish 80g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1.–2 tbsp harissa paste
  • 4 x 140g skinless and boneless thick-cut cod fillets or loins sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the caraway seeds in a deep-sided frying pan that has a lid over a medium heat and toast for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add one tablespoon of the oil then the cumin and garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the tomato purée and chickpeas until well coated then add the tinned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes (if using), 150ml of the stock and the sugar. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5–6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid and simmer for another 6–8 minutes, adding a splash more stock if needed. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time until just wilted. Give a good squeeze of lemon juice, check for seasoning and stir in one tablespoon of the parsley.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, harissa paste, lemon zest, and the remaining parsley and olive oil. Season the fish fillets and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Spread the harissa breadcrumbs over the top of each fillet, lightly pressing them down to stick. Bake in the oven for 10–14 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets, or until the top is crispy and the fish is cooked through (it should be opaque and flake easily).

Spoon the chickpeas into shallow serving bowls and place a cod fillet on top. Scatter with parsley and serve immediately.

Extracted from Ainsley’s Good Mood Food by Ainsley Harriott (Ebury Press, £20) Photography by Dan Jones

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