A Cook's Plot

Fish & Shellfish

Cod with a mushroom topping

A really tasty fish dish that's super-easy to make

Last week, I posted the recipe that I served as a starter for my dad’s 80th birthday lunch. Today, it’s the main course: a lovely fish dish that we all really enjoyed but that couldn’t be simpler to make. Don’t be tempted to leave anything out, though, as it’s all the little individual elements that add up to a really delicious finished dish.

I’ve used cod loins here, but any firm white fish would work well too. If you can get them, cod cheeks are ideal. I find chestnut mushrooms have much more flavour than normal white mushrooms, so I’ve use them in this recipe - the key to maximising their flavour is to cook them over a very high heat to drive off the moisture as quickly as possible. And although I’ve only used a tablespoon of tapenade (olive paste), it makes a big difference. If you’ve not used tapenade before, look out for it in the same aisle as tomato puree. It usually comes in little glass jars and can be made from either black or green olives - either is fine here.


Serves 4

  • 4 cod loin fillets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • grated zest of a lemon
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • big handful of breadcrumbs
  • 150g cheddar cheese, grated
  • handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tapenade paste


Put the fish in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold the four fillets without them touching, then drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and sprinkle over the lemon zest and the thyme leaves. Season really well, then set aside.

Fry the mushrooms over a high heat until just starting to turn golden, then reduce the heat a little and add the garlic. Fry for 2 mins more.

In a large bowl, stir the breadcrumbs, parsley and cheese together then add the mushrooms and garlic. Spread a little tapenade over each fish fillet then top with the breadcrumb mixture. Season really well, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake at 190C (fan oven) for 15-20 mins until the topping is golden and the fish flakes easily when you test it with the point of a knife.

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