Best & Easy Way to Cook Cod

When most people think of cod, they think fish and chips. Which is fine. I mean hey, fish and chips are great and if you like battered cod and it gets you eating seafood, then I’m all for it! But. There’s more than one way to skin a cat cook cod. And, as it so happens, there’s more than one type of cod.

Being a West Coast girl, I ate a lot of lingcod—which runs abundantly throughout the Pacific Ocean. Larger than the Pacific cod (sometimes marketed as Alaskan cod) sold in supermarkets throughout the U.S., lingcod (should you ever run across it) is a delicious white fish with a mild flavor and a consistency similar to halibut. It’s a fabulous, and much more economical, option for recipes calling for halibut. So if you live on the West Coast, try substituting it for halibut and let me know what you think.

Cod_pacificPacific Cod
This is the variety you’re most likely to find in grocery stores and fish markets alike. And, it’s the one typically used for fish and chips. Still a mild fish by most taste bud standards, it’s a good fish to introduce into your diet if you’re not a big seafood fan (yet). Right now, it comes in around $6.99/lb making it a good, budget-friendly fish.

Look for Pacific cod caught off the West Coast, including the Bearing Sea BUT NOT from Russia or Japan

codAtlantic Cod
Similar to Pacific cod but from the Atlantic Ocean, it has an almost identical flavor BUT, years of overfishing and unhealthy practices have put this fish on the Seafood Watch avoid list, so steer clear under most circumstances.

Do not purchase Atlantic cod unless it’s caught in the U.S. and MSC certified

cod_sablefishBlack Cod
More commonly called “sablefish,” isn’t actually a member of the cod family (I know, as if it isn’t confusing enough already). I’ve never seen it for sale in the States, but I know people who say smoked black cod is excellent. SO if you ever find it, drop me a line and let me know.

How to Cook Cod
I’m a big fan of grilling seafood. Truth be known, nine times out of ten, that’s how I will always prepare it—because that’s how I like it. But every now and then I try something different because it sounds fun, and because I want to help introduce seafood to the dinner plates of more Americans … hence more choices and more ways to prepare seafood. So last week, I pan-seared it with sage and garlic and finished it in the oven. It’s super easy, and it looks pretty too. Now, I will tell you that I wasn’t happy with the way my sauce turned out. It was too watery. And I burned the garlic so it had a bitter under taste. But had I paid better attention to the pan, it would’ve been fab and yes, yes I will do it again.

Pan-seared Pacific Cod
Cod fillets—for this recipe, you need thick pieces, so I don’t recommend frozen fillets UNLESS you want to skip the searing part. Which is perfectly fine!
Olive oil, 4-5 tablespoons
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Garlic 4-5 cloves
Sage, 4-5 leaves
Lemon juice, 2-3 tablespoons)
Butter, 4 tablespoons
Salt and pepper to taste
White wine, ½ cup
Cream, 2-3 tablespoons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil in pan. Sprinkle cod pieces with red pepper flakes (if you’re using them), drop in to oil and sear for about 2 minutes a side. Remove from pan and place in oven-safe dish. Bake for approximately 15 minutes for 1-inch fillets.

Sauté garlic, add sage, lemon and butter and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add wine and cream (or half and half) and reduce for about 10 minutes. NOTE this is where I screwed up. I was impatient and didn’t let the sauce reduce.

Remove cod from oven and plate with whatever else you’re serving. I suggest sautéed spinach or asparagus, and wild rice. Drizzle with sauce and garnish with lemon slice and extra sage if you have it. Done. Eat. Enjoy.

A note about my recipes … most of what I cook isn’t a precise science. It’s look, taste and feel. And I encourage you to cook the same way. Add a little more of this, or a little less of that … and pay attention … and before long you’ll be a wiz at cooking seafood.

DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox <\small>

Want more from The Midwest Mermaid? Be sure to follow along here, and on Instagram for all the latest in seafood news and chews


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Hey there. I’m Shauna—a West Coast transplant in the landlocked state of Indiana … when I moved here I missed the beaches, the mountains, the desert, the rivers … and it took me a while to find places nearby that paralleled my old stomping grounds. BUT. Now that I’ve lived here for over 15 years, I’ve had time to explore the region and you know what? It’s amazing. There’s so much to do—from skiing in northern Michigan to relaxing lakeside in southern Kentucky to rocking the nightlife in one of the many metropolitan areas. And I love it here. I really do. BUT. I do miss the sea … and the sand and the rush of the waves … the smell of seawater … even the sting of too much sun after a day spent lollygagging at the beach. And I miss the constant supply of seafood and shellfish and riverfish? About that … since I’ve moved to the Midwest I’ve noticed that a lot of people here don’t consider fish that come from the river seafood … I’m not sure I agree, but hence the new word I’ve created, “riverfish” … time will tell if Webster picks it up ; ) So my blog, Seafood is The New Black, is my way of bringing a little bit of sea life (or is it sealife?) to the Midwest. And over on Seafood in the Circle City, you can read up on my favorite Indianapolis restaurants that serve seafood, and serve it well. As you read along, you’ll find all kinds of information … some that you might find more useful than others—and some, you might just find amusing … or not. Either way, and if nothing else, I hope you leave my little space here on the world wide web a little refreshed and maybe even a little inspired to bring a little bit of the ocean home with you. (Yes, I did use the word “little” four times in one sentence … it’s OK … mermaids like to repeat themselves.) Cheers! The Midwest Mermaid Oh, and if your curious, yes, I do actually write for a living … if you want to know about the organizations I work with and the publications where you can find my land legs, swim on over to the “Portfolio” tab … and thanks for visiting.

One thought on “Best & Easy Way to Cook Cod

  1. Pingback: Pan-Seared Grouper

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