Pizzaiola sauce is basically a marinara sauce seasoned with dried oregano. The Italian term “a la pizzaiola” refers to any dish that is made with this sauce. However, the term is seldomly used here in the States. Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Parmesan are popular Italian dishes using pizzaiola sauce.
This recipe was originally given to me by my cousin Pina. She’s with the Detroit scion of my family that settled there in the 1950’s. My mother and grandmother make the same recipe using dried cod for our traditional Christmas Eve seafood dinner. But using fresh cod is much easier and it’s more readily available.
You can cut down on prep time by using jarred marinara sauce. It becomes an acceptable substitute when doctored up with some sautéed onions and a little garlic.
Baked Cod a la Pizzaiola
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ cup finely diced onion
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed or chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cod fillets or loins (about 1-inch thick)
1 ¼ cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
Additional dried oregano
PREPARE THE SAUCE: In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil.
Add onion and cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt, and garlic. Stir. Cook uncovered over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until thickened. Add the parsley, pepper and additional salt if needed. Continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes longer.
BREAD THE COD: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1/4 cup of oil in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate shallow bowl.
Coat the cod in the oil first.
Then coat evenly in the breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet, spacing evenly apart.
BAKE THE COD:
Spoon the sauce evenly on top of the fish pieces. Sprinkle with each piece with a pinch of dried oregano. Drizzle remaining oil on top and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.