This is an excellent pescatarian dish which is also gluten-free if you don’t garnish with breadcrumbs; or, you can use gluten-free bread.
If you don’t use samphire, all of the other ingredients are easily sourced year-round (samphire is best in July-August).
- 5 Romano peppers
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Large knob of butter (approx. 40g)
- Dash of vegetable oil
- 1 hot red chilli, seeded (if you like) and finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1/5 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 tomato, roughly chopped
- 450g cod cheeks (or cod pieces)
- Chopped fresh dill, to taste
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Fine breadcrumbs (optional)
- 1 handful samphire (optional)
- Baking tray
- Frying pan
- Knife and chopping board
- Large mixing bowl
- Preheat oven to 170 C (150 C fan-assisted).
- Slice off the top of each Romano pepper, then halve lengthwise and remove and discard the pith and seeds. Lay peppers cut side up on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. The peppers should be softened, but firm enough to hold their shape. Remove from the oven.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter and veg oil in a frying pan over a medium heat until hot, then add the chilli, garlic and onion. Cook and stir until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and stir well. Add the fish, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, breaking up the larger fish pieces to ensure they’re no longer translucent inside and have become an even white colour throughout. Transfer to a bowl, add dill to taste and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste (if using samphire, remember that it is very salty so keep that in mind here).
- If using, blanch the samphire by placing it in a sieve and pour 1/2 a kettle of just-boiled water over.
- Fill up each Romano pepper half with the cod filling and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon over. If using breadcrumbs, sprinkle over generously to create a crust then drape several stems of samphire over each pepper half.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or so, ensuring the peppers retain an al dente feeling when pinched. Remove from the oven and serve.
This recipe works well with any other herbs you like with fish – thyme is good, and also chervil, parsley, fennel, marjoram, etc.