200g fresh raw cod fillet, skinned and flaked
8-10 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
10ml olive oil
100g hot mashed potatoes
20ml double cream
15g unsalted butter
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 red pepper, stalk removed, halved and deseeded
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme, stalks removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 slices Cheddar cheese
• Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a pestle and mortar, pound together the cod, basil, garlic, one teaspoon of the olive oil and a dash of lemon juice until it forms a paste. Alternatively, blitz in a blender or food processor.
• Turn into a bowl and add the hot mashed potatoes, cream, butter and nutmeg. Beat to combine and set aside.
• Heat the remaining olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan with a lid, and when very hot, add the red pepper, together with the bay leaf, thyme, seasoning and sugar.
• Once the peppers have slightly browned, after three or four minutes, add the water to create steam. Cover immediately with a lid and put straight into the oven for two minutes.
• Remove from the oven and fill each pepper half with the fish paste. Cover with a thin slice of cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
• Return to the hot oven and bake for a further 12 minutes. Preheat the grill until hot.
• Cut the baguette in half lengthways and toast under the preheated grill until golden brown.
• Serve the peppers with the toasted baguette.
Tip from the top
‘Use a tender fillet or loin of cod for this recipe. If the fish has the skin on, ask the fishmonger to skin it for you. When making the mashed potato, I use floury potatoes – ideal for mashing.’