A brief stovetop braise is the perfect way to cook delicate white fish like cod, since it keeps the fish moist and silky while creating a sauce at the same time.
To give the mild fillets a boost of flavor, we paired them with a Spanish-style peperonata, a combination of cooked bell peppers and onions, to which we added tomatoes, wine, paprika, and fresh thyme for depth of flavor.
We then simply nestled the cod right into the pepper mixture and covered the Dutch oven. The sauce infused the fish fillets as they braised and protected them from the heat so they stayed tender. Haddock and hake are good substitutes for the cod.
BRAISED COD PEPERONATA
Start to finish: 1 hour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
4 (6- to 8 ounce) skinless cod fillets, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Sherry or balsamic vinegar
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell peppers, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and paprika and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, wine, and thyme and bring to simmer.
Season cod with salt and pepper. Nestle cod, skinned side down, into pot and spoon some of sauce over fish. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 140 F, about 10 minutes.
Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with basil and vinegar, and drizzle with extra oil before serving.