Cod grilled over holm oak embers

Cuisinier: Víctor Arguinzoniz
Pays: Spain
Localité: 48291 Axpe-Marzana (Atxondo, Vizcaya)
Adresse: Plaza San Juan, 1
(+34) 946583042

In Basque cuisine, cod has always traditionally been prepared in sauce (pil pil, a la vizcaína, al Club Ranero, en salsa verde, etc.) or in other ways (in an omelet, with bread-garlic soup in zurrukutuna, as stuffing for peppers, fried with green peppers, etc.); but strangely never fire-grilled, while it was always a food abundant in cider houses and txakoli wineries. In recent years, it has finally taken its place in the best Basque barbecues, for various reasons: its absence had no logical basis and there are not many fish that are better, and much less with dependable market availability.

The person who has best developed its grilling is, logically, the man who has made a galactic revolution of the grill, Victor Arguinzoniz. As always, he acquires the highest quality and treats it with singular skill. He uses filets from huge specimens of over 10 kilos. Each piece is lightly brushed with olive oil. It is placed skin down on a flat fish kettle, which is laid on the grill, also flat, about 10 centimeters from the embers. The Holm oak embers need to have already burned quite a bit so that they do not damage the fish, which should be cooked very slowly. The skin side cooks for 8 minutes; during this time, some of the fish’s juices as well as some of the olive oil drip into the fire and intensify the flames, producing smoke that ends up lightly flavoring the fish. Once the 8 minutes have passed, the filet is turned over and cooked skin side up, still at a distance of about 10 centimeters, for 2 minutes. Once done, the filet is removed from heat and served skin down, encircled by a ribbon of pil pil.

The fish could not come out any whiter, any more iridescent; a filet that separates into slices when touched with knife and fork—whole slices, triumphantly juicy with the clean, exquisite flavor of fresh salt cod with rustic fragrances that add to its charm.

La Recette