Braised Cod with Wild Garlic Emulsion – this vibrant dish is the ultimate celebration of spring, combining succulent cod, zesty wild garlic emulsion with a citrus dressing and tender new season asparagus.
Spring is the time to forage for this versatile plant. With its fresh, garlicky aroma, wild garlic or allium ursinum has an unmistakable scent. You’ll find it growing in shady damp woodlands, with the season starting in late winter, it continues until the end of spring. The pretty white flowers are also edible and emerge from April to June. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, wash and use them to make delicious soups, pesto, pasta sauces, flavoured butter, tarts….the options are never-ending.
Today I’ve paired these fragrant leaves with cod however any firm white fish works equally well. With minimal effort and the right tools you can produce a dish that really delivers on flavour, first and foremost, with simple and unfussy presentation.
The wild garlic oil can easily be prepared a few days in advance of making this dish and the emulsion a couple of hours prior to cooking the fish. With the addition of steamed asparagus and new potatoes, this meal is the perfect seasonal plate.
Any leftover wild garlic oil should be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. It can add characteristic flavour to soups, sauces and salad dressings. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
I urge you to try this recipe for Braised Cod with Wild Garlic Emulsion, it’s my seasonal favourite.
Braised Cod with Wild Garlic Emulsion
- 600 g 600g thick end cod fillet, any bones removed, cut into 4, skin on.
- 100 g wild garlic leaves
- 260 ml sunflower oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar
- 12-16 asparagus spears woody ends removed
- 2 egg yolks
- 200 ml fish stock
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice
- olive oil and butter for frying
- fine sea salt
- Begin with preparing the wild garlic oil. Carefully rinse the wild garlic, then blanch for 30 seconds in a pan of salted boiling water. Drain and plunge the leaves into iced water. Once cold, thoroughly pat dry.
- Chop the wild garlic roughly, add to a blender and pour in the oil. Blitz briefly on a low speed, then increase in speed for 30 seconds until the oil is a bright, vibrant green colour.
- Pass through a fine sieve lined with a muslin. Transfer to a suitable sterilised container and store in the fridge until required.
- Pour the stock into a pan, reduce by half, set to one side.
- To make the emulsion: whisk together the egg yolks, mustard and vinegar in a bowl with a pinch of salt until smooth. Weigh out 200ml of the wild garlic oil and add this to the bowl in a slow steady stream, whisking continuously, until the mixture has emulsified to form a green mayonnaise. The consistency should be that of double cream so you will most likely need to add a little of the reduced fish stock to loosen it. Season to taste. Take 30ml of the remaining garlic oil to make the wild garlic dressing, add 1-2 teaspoon of lemon juice and taste, if you feel it needs more acidity add a little more juice, pour into a jam jar and set to one side.
- Sprinkle a little fine sea salt on each piece of cod.
- Heat a cast iron frying pan to a medium-high heat, add little sunflower oil. Place the fish in the pan, after a minute or so add a tablespoon of butter. When the fish is three quarters cooked flip it over, add a 2-3 of tablespoons of the reduced stock, cook 30 seconds longer then turn the heat off. In the meantime boil or steam the asparagus and have 4 warm plates ready. Place the vegetables on the plate, arrange the cod on top. Swirl a little of the wild garlic emulsion around the plate and give the dressing a good shake before drizzling the dressing around the plate. Garnish with a wild garlic leaf and flowers if desired. Serve with new potatoes.
- wild garlic grows in abundance so it is generally acceptable to pick some but not all of what you find
- make a batch of wild garlic butter, shape into a sausage and refrigerate, then slice and freeze