Not So Simple: Torta With Cod, Potato And Porcini

I have to say that my husband really outdid himself with this dish. It was delicious and creative while respecting the main ingredients — cod, potato and porcini. All too often chefs try to outdo each other creatively and forget important things like taste (both of the original ingredients and final results). They fry prosciutto because it’s never been done before, not realizing that the delicate flavor of prosciutto is the reason it should not be fried. They drizzle balsamic vinegar on fresh mozzarella, not caring that the strong taste of balsamic vinegar overwhelms the mozzarella. I could go on and on…but this is not a rant, this is about a wonderful recipe that deserves its own post.

When my husband told me that he wanted to add polenta to a torta of cod, potato and porcini, I was not sold on the idea. Although polenta goes really well with cod and porcini, I wasn’t convinced that baking polenta would work.  I loved polenta when it is cooked into a porridge-like mixture or day-old polenta that can be sliced and sauted.  Baking it with other ingredients would be completely different.

Well, I was wrong.  Very wrong! The polenta added a rich flavor and helped solidify the torta, which was his intent.  Every ingredient came together beautifully. I’m dreaming about this as I work.

Needless to say, this is not a simple recipe. I’m writing this down not as an exact recipe to follow but for future reference so that he can easily reproduce it next time.   While the fish was steaming and potatoes were boiling, he started cooking the polenta but did not finish it in a pot. Instead, he later poured this “polenta water” into a pan over the steamed cod, boiled potatoes and porcini. There was a second step that involved polenta water infused with strained water from the dried porcini.


cod, porcini, russet potatoes, polenta, bay leaf, oregano, marjoram, pine nuts (optional), white wine, salt, pepper and parmigiano to melt on top at the end


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