Olive Oil-Poached Cod with Mussels, Orange and Chorizo

At The French Laundry in Napa Valley, chef Thomas Keller serves this dish with an orange gelée flavored with Espelette peppers. In this simplified version, he pairs the olive oil–poached cod with an orange sauce vierge, a classic French sauce typically made with olive oil and lemon juice.

Olive Oil-Poached Cod with Mussels, Orange and Chorizo
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 4 ounces chorizo—quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fennel, fronds reserved

  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 whole orange

  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock

  • 1/4 teaspoon piment d’Espelette

  • 4 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil

  • Four 6-ounce skinless cod fillets, each cut into three pieces

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the chorizo in the grapeseed oil over moderate heat until the fat is rendered, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chorizo, leaving as much of the oil as possible in the saucepan; you should have about 3 tablespoons. Reserve the chorizo.

  2. Add the shallot and chopped fennel to the saucepan and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Add the mussels and wine, cover and cook until the shells have opened, 6 minutes. Transfer the mussels to a large bowl. Strain the cooking juices into a heatproof bowl.

  3. Wipe out the saucepan and return the cooking juices to it, stopping before you reach the grit at the bottom. Add the orange juice, chicken stock and piment d’Espelette to the saucepan and simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and keep the sauce warm. Remove the mussels from their shells and add them to the sauce.

  4. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 4 cups of olive oil to 180°. Meanwhile, on a plate, sprinkle the cod all over with the salt; let stand for 5 minutes. Rinse the cod and pat dry. Poach the cod in the oil, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the temperature constant, until just cooked, 10 minutes. If the cod is not completely submerged in oil, turn it halfway through poaching. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the cod to a paper towel–lined plate and blot dry.

  5. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections into the bowl. Heat the sauce just until warm. Transfer the cod to 4 shallow bowls and spoon the mussels and sauce all around. Garnish with the orange sections, fennel fronds and fried chorizo and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Orange-scented Sauvignon Blanc.

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