Crusted Anise Atlantic Codfish atop Molé and Cotija Cheese Pizza

Crusted Anise Atlantic Codfish atop Molé and Cotija Cheese Pizza

Meal type Entrée, Main Dish
By author Elaine Pusateri Cowan


Fish & Crust

  • 1lb Atlantic cod
  • 5 star anise
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch coarse black pepper
  • 1 Swirl of olive oil

Simple Molé

  • 2 ancho chilies
  • 1 chili
  • 1 Swirl of olive/canola oil blend
  • white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dark raisins

Pizza Garnish

  • 2 cups romaine lettuce (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese (grated)
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • Juice
  • Zest 1 lime


Pizza Garnish
*For the actual pizza dough: I make 200 pounds of sourdough a week, but you can usually get a decent store-bought brand that makes 3 12-inch pies, or see if your favorite bakery sells their own—most do!
Simple Molé
1. Roughly chop the onion and tomatoes.
2. Halve and seed peppers. Be sure to remove all seeds and pepper’s ribs, or membrane.
3. Peel garlic. Give it a whack with your chef’s knife
4. In a large bowl, combine onions, peppers, almonds, garlic, kosher salt and cumin seeds.
5. Toss vegetables, nuts and seasonings with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
6. Oil a large sheet pan and spread the vegetables onto the tray. Do not overcrowd the pan.
7. Roast at highest oven setting until pepper skins begin blacken (6 to 10 minutes).
8. Combine roasted vegetables and in nuts in a blender with raisins. Gradually add water.

Crusted Anise Atlantic Codfish
1. Pound anise in mortar and pestle until it’s a gritty, dust-like consistency. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a coffee bean grinder or put them in a paper bag and bang them with a hammer.)
2. Add kosher salt and black pepper, and pound again. Pour the rub onto a plate.
3. Gently press both sides of the codfish into the rub. Repeat.
4. If eating the fish on its own: swirl oil in a pan on medium to high heat and sauté codfish for 4 minutes on each side. (Healthy alternative: oven fry the codfish in a 400°F oven. Don’t forget to put a swirl of oil in the roasting pan first.)
5. If adding the codfish to pizza: swirl oil in a pan on medium to high heat and sear both sides of the codfish. It’ll finish cooking in the oven with the rest of the pizza.

Pizza & Garnish
*for three 12-inch pies

1. Roll out dough and lightly oil outside edges.
2. Spread molé evenly over dough.
3. Flake generous chunks of fish onto the pizza. For this pizza, the cheese is added after it has cooked to provide a velvety coolness, which balances the spiciness.
4. Bake until edges are golden brown (in 450°F conventional oven, on a pizza stone, approximately 15 minutes).
5. Sprinkle romaine lettuce, cotija cheese and tomato over the pizza. Top with zest from lime and it’s juice.


Simply slice the pizza and garnish with a little molé and top it with a wedge of lime.

If plating the codfish by itself, spread a generous crescent of molé onto the plate first, add the fish, and then top with lettuce, cheese, tomato and lime juice and zest. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
  • Publisher: Mercury Media and Entertainment
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