Grilled cod with lettuce hearts and a rich chicken and tarragon dressing


  • 550g/1¼lb piece of skinned thick cod fillet
  • salt
  • 1.2L/2pt chicken stock
  • a few tarragon stalks
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 100g/4oz asparagus tips
  • 4 soft round lettuces
  • 12 very thin slices of pancetta
  • 1 tsp chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp tarragon, chopped
  • 7.5ml/1½ tsp white wine vinegar

Preparation method

  1. Put the cod into a shallow dish and sprinkle liberally with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the chicken stock, tarragon stalks and garlic cloves into a large pan and boil until reduced to about 85ml/3fl oz. Strain into a small clean pan and keep warm.

  2. Rinse the salt off the fish and dry well on kitchen paper. Brush with a little of the olive oil, season with some pepper and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.

  3. Cook the asparagus tips in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain, refresh and keep warm. Remove the outside leaves from each lettuce until you get down to the pale green hearts. Cut each one into quarters.

  4. preheat the grill to high, then grill the cod for about 10-12 minutes. Put the slices of pancetta over the fish and grill for 1-2 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden.

  5. Put the quartered lettuce hearts in the centre of 4 warmed plates. Break the pancetta into small pieces and the cod into chunky flakes. Arrange the cod around the lettuce with the pancetta and asparagus. Sprinkle over the chopped chives and tarragon. Spoon the warm chicken stock over the lettuce and a little over the rest of the plate.

  6. Whisk the remaining olive oil, the vinegar and some seasoning together, drizzle over the plate and serve straight away.

James Martin recipes from Housecall

Less than 30 mins preparation time

10 to 30 mins cooking time

Serves 4

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