Thyme roast cod & panzanella salad

This elegant seafood supper of succulent white fish with a tomato, caper and crispy crouton salad makes an attractive dinner party main

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:1 hrs 10 mins
  • Serves 6
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 426
  • fat 22g
  • saturates 4g
  • carbs 22g
  • sugars 4g
  • fibre 3g
  • protein 33g
  • salt 2.3g


  • 900g cod loin, skin removed, or 6 pieces of cod fillet
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 6 large thyme sprigs
  • 25g butter
  • juice ½ lemon
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 6 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 600g mixed heritage tomatoes, different colours and shapes
  • ½ tbsp flaky sea salt
  • 200g sourdough bread
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 3 tbsp small capers
  • ½ small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • large handful basil leaves, roughly chopped


Get ahead

You can roast the bulb of garlic and make the sourdough croutons the day before.

Make it veggie

To cater for a vegetarian guest, keep a portion of the panzanella and crumble some vegetarian feta through it instead.

Tom's tip

Panzanella is a salad that includes chunks of bread, which absorb some of the dressing and tomato juices. It works well with fish or barbecued meats. However, I’m not a fan of the traditionally soggy bread, so I keep my croutons crunchy by adding them at the last minute. 


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Place the garlic bulb in the centre of a piece of foil. Spoon over 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, then scrunch the foil up around the bulb to make a parcel. Bake for 1 hr.

  2. Meanwhile, dice the large tomatoes and cut any small ones in half. Tip into a bowl, sprinkle over the sea salt, toss together and set aside for half an hour.

  3. After the garlic bulb has been cooking for 40 mins, tear the sourdough into bite-sized pieces and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with 2 tbsp rapeseed oil, sprinkle with a little salt, then add the crushed garlic and toss everything together. Bake for 15 mins, stirring halfway through, until golden and crispy. Remove both the toasted croutons and garlic bulb from the oven and turn up to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

  4. Once the tomatoes have wilted slightly, set a colander or sieve over a bowl and strain them, catching all the juices. Whisk the remaining oil, the vinegar and capers into the tomato juices. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves from the bulb and whisk these in too. Taste and season.

  5. Cut the cod into 6 even pieces, season, drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and leave for 10 mins. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large non-stick, ovenproof frying pan. Top each piece of cod with a sprig of thyme and place, thyme-side down, in the pan. Cook for 1-2 mins until the cod starts to colour. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 4-6 mins, depending on thickness.

  6. Meanwhile, mix the crispy croutons and tomatoes together in a bowl. Pour over the dressing, scatter with the parsley and basil, and toss everything together. Divide the salad between plates. When the cod is cooked, add the butter to the pan and let it melt. Squeeze in the lemon juice and baste the cod in the buttery juices. Turn the portions over to reveal the thyme-studded fish. Serve with the salad and some of the juices from the pan, then grind over a little black pepper.

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