BBQ15/17: Cold smoked cod with white beans, clams and parsley

BBQ15/17: Cold smoked cod with white beans, clams and parsley, Grilled red cabbage with hot and sour dressing and Hasselback potatoes.

I haven’t eaten much fish in comparison to meat and I only have a few “wow” fish dishes I remember eating on my travels which might be why I haven’t cooked much fish over the years too. My wife usually cooks fish at least once a week for us all to try and balance things out meal wise and I thought I should try and cook a bit more fish on the BBQ to see if there are any dishes I would really enjoy.

This was another recipe from Ben Tish’s book and again, it’s cold smoked and then grilled so it ticked a few boxes for me and went onto the list!

I put an order in at our local fishmonger for 4x 100g Cod fillets and 200g of clams. There was some confusion around availability of clams due to windy weather, I keep meaning to Google clam fishing to understand what the issue might have been but they did get what we asked for. The cod I got didn’t look like the ones in Ben’s book. His are square fillets, quite thick and have the skin on. Mine were cut like traditional fishmonger fillets – long, thin and pointed at the end. My fishmonger had also taken the skin off (even though we asked for it on!). I was kicking myself a bit because I am so specific with my meat requirements when ordering but I didn’t go into the same level of detail on the fish order, lesson learnt for next time!

I got the cod fillets in the morning and immediately put them in the Dry fish cure (sea salt, caster sugar, lemon zest, fennel seeds and black pepper) for an hour then moved them to the fridge for an hour. When the hour was up I removed the cod fillets and rinsed them then dried them with kitchen towel before setting them up to cold smoke over oak dust. It was pretty cold on the day (around 2c) so I was happy it was cold enough for them to be outside during the day. The recipe says to smoke them for 1h20m but on some of the previous recipes I found the smoke taste wasn’t strong enough (might be down to the method used to smoke) so I filled the ProQ CSG up for a full smoke (12h) and set it off with the intention of leaving the cod out overnight to rest after the smoking finished.

The next day I took the cod out and it smelt fantastic. Great, strong oak smoke smell to the fillets and I put them in the fridge. 

I haven’t made Hasselback potatoes before but people keep telling me to make them so I added them to the list for this cook. Very easy to prepare (I used the Hangfire recipe from their book) by slicing part of the bottom to give a flat surface and then slicing them every 3m leaving 3m at the bottom of the potato. They went in the BBQ for 45m over indirect heat and were served with browned butter, sour cream, smoked paprika and flat leaf parsley.

The red cabbage recipe is by Rich Harris, it’s been on my list for a while and as we had a spare red cabbage I decided to cook it. You slice it length ways into 12 pieces whilst retaining the core to keep the slices together. Brush it with olive oil, season it then grill it over direct heat for 20m turning every 5m. There is a hot and sour dressing which was really nice but didn’t go with the cod and clams, I should have thought about that more and not used the dressing but used some of the juice off the clams/cod maybe.

The clams are cooked in a pan with softened shallot and garlic moving from direct heat to indirect heat when adding cider. I cooked the clams for 12m which seemed about right. 

The cod was brushed with oil and seasoned then cooked over direct heat for 3m on each side. It did flare up and it was a nightmare trying to flip it with tongs. I should have used a fish slice and maybe the smoking basket or a fish basket to grill it. I think if I had the thick, square fillets shown in the recipe it would have been easier to cook/flip as well. Next time, I will try square, thick fillets with the skin on and a fish slice to flip them!

The cod did taste fantastic, the brine and the cold smoking really added to the taste and texture. I would cold smoke them again even to have on their own without the clams and beans.

A lot of words and not many pictures. For some reason I didn’t take many photos along the way, only final photos. The cook wasn’t hard in itself but a lot of the components were new to me so I was focused on cooking it rather than taking photos, I would be more relaxed next time!

 


Changes for next time:

The cabbage did catch and some of them were burnt, I would keep an eye on them more next time but maybe move them to indirect after 5m direct heat per side.

The potatoes were great, wouldn’t change them and will do them more often.

All the fish changes are listed above. In terms of cooking times it was spot on, will need to see how that changes with different sized pieces.

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