Codfish with garlic and chilli power: The wonderful pil-pil sauce goes well with fish

Ingredients (for 4 people):

  • 4 codfish fillets (150 g each)
  • 300 ml of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 chilli pepper
  • Salt
  • Garnish: chervil, pea sprouts, chives, dried black olives, dried cherry tomatoes to taste


Put the oil in a wide, deep pan. Peel and halve the garlic cloves, remove the bud. Cut the chilli pepper lengthways and remove the seeds. Add the garlic and half a chilli pod to the oil. Flavour the oil over medium heat for about 20 minutes. The oil must not get too hot so that it does not become bitter. When the garlic floats on top, place the fish skin-side up in the oil, the cod should be covered with oil. Cook very slowly over low heat. If you have a thermostat even better because 70 degrees should not be exceeded. After simmering gently for 8 to 10 minutes, carefully remove the fish from the oil and set aside. Strain the oil through a sieve into a saucepan. This leaves the garlic, chilli, and also the gelatinous white bits that the fish released in the sieve. Now either use the traditional method or opt for the modern way. The classic way: Put some of the flavoured oil and a little codfish essence in a pan. Now “stir” in a circle using a small stainless steel kitchen sieve until an emulsion is formed. The kitchen sieve acts as a whisk, but makes the emulsion even finer. Little by little, a bit more flavoured oil is added. When half of the oil is used up, the rest of the cod essence is added, then continue to stir in a circle with the sieve. Carefully and gradually add more oil, continue stirring until a thick sauce is formed. You may not need all of the oil. That depends on how much essence the fish has given off. To make the pil-pil sauce this way, you need a little experience and, above all, patience. The more modern and faster way to conjure up the pil-pil sauce is easier, even for less experienced cooks, and ideal for doing at home. The hand blender is used for this. To do this, put the gelatinous codfish essence in the mixing bowl, add a little oil, mix briefly, gradually add the oil carefully and always mix well. Season the pil-pil sauce with salt at the very last. Before serving, add fish to the sauce and heat gently. You should always preserve the fish with the skin but if you prefer to arrange the codfish on the plate without the skin, remove it before serving. Chervil, pea sprouts, chives, dried black olives and dried cherry tomatoes are suitable for decoration.

How to dry the olives yourself: Strain the pitted black olives and dry them in the oven at 70-80 degrees. Then chop with a knife or briefly chop with the mixer. Olives that have been dehydrated in this way are very salty. You should pay attention to this when seasoning the dish.

How to dry cherry tomatoes: Slightly cut the tomatoes crosswise on the underside, briefly blanch in hot salted water. Then rinse in salted ice water. Pull off the skin. Carefully pat the tomatoes dry. Marinate with a little olive oil, garlic, rosemary or thyme. Put in the oven at 80 degrees until the tomato skins are wrinkled. They should be a bit leathery on the outside, but still juicy on the inside. An umami bomb!

Do you want to receive new fera recipes?
We will inform you every time we publish a new recipe