The other day I decided to try to recreate a dish I vaguely remembered — cod with chickpeas, spinach and chorizo chips. It felt just right for a brisk, pre-spring sunny day. I checked my favorite Spanish cookbook, couldn’t find it. Ditto my Portuguese cookbook. Then I looked online, and found not a single recipe for this precise combination. So I winged it. Well, dear readers, my guest was happy. And in fact so was I.
Cabillaud au chorizo / Cod with chickpeas, spinach and chorizo
When or where did I have this dish before? Or did I conjure it up in my imagination? It combines flavors typical of Spain, Portugal and the French Basque country — places where cod and chorizo are frequently served. The chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, add a Moorish touch. And spinach is often paired with chickpeas in Spanish cooking.
Moro: The Cookbook, my bible on Spanish cuisine, has a stew of chickpeas and spinach with saffron, cumin, wine vinegar and hot pepper. A simpler version of this is served at tapa bars in Barcelona. Another Moro dish combines spinach and chorizo in a paella. And cod topped with chorizo chips is currently hot in Paris bistros.
So whatever the origin of this particular dish, the flavors blend well. And, as I discovered, it is not just easy to make but has the significant advantage of being able to be prepared in advance. If you cook the chickpeas yourself — highly recommended — it’s best to start the evening before you plan to serve the dish. Tips on cooking chickpeas may be found here.
Once your chickpeas are ready, the dish requires three skillets — one for sautéing the spinach with garlic, one for pan-searing the cod and one for frying thinly sliced chorizo — as mild or spicy as you like. All the ingredients may be combined at this point and gently reheated later, with the chorizo chips added on top.
This recipe makes a healthy one-dish meal that could be accompanied by just a salad at lunchtime. If serving the cod as the centerpiece of a more elaborate meal, starters that pair well include tapenade, Moroccan carrot salad, eggplant caviar or, if you’re going all out, a seafood platter. And you could follow up with crème caramel or sliced oranges with star anise. As for wine, a crisp dry white or a light red would marry well.