When It’s Fish for Dinner

I buy stuff when it is on sale, vacuum seal it and toss it in the freezer. Though I do sometimes plan a menu and head to the store for those specific ingredients, I confess that is not my usual method. I’m also not a chef or even a formally trained cook. All of the women in my family were taught by their mothers who were taught by their mothers. We’re just comfortable in a kitchen. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest with a dad who loved to fish has instilled a comfort level with preparing and cooking fish I didn’t appreciate until I was raising my own family. 

Cod is a dense white bottom fish. Usually it is a fairly delicate flavor, but stronger than sole or tilapia. Cod is often used for fish and chips because it holds up well to breading and cooking. When cooked properly, it is moist, flakes easily with a fork. 

One of my favorite flavor combinations with cod is lemon and dill which is awesomely refreshing in the summer or fall. Another favorite of mine is a more Mediterranean flavor with lemon, capers, tomatoes and lots of garlic. This can also be made with more Italian seasonings like basil, rosemary, and thyme. Because I enjoy cooking, I always have dried herbs in my pantry. I also keep diced and whole stewed tomatoes and capers around because to me, they are a staple. I like this dish without the breading as well. Experiment! That is the fun of cooking!

This is a flavorful way to enjoy nearly any firm white fish. If you are using a more delicate, thinner fish than cod, however, you will need to reduce the cooking time in the pan and in the oven. 

Mediterranean Pacific Cod

I have adapted this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish recipe. I served this recipe with a side of herbed polenta and a simple green salad, though I think their serving suggestions would be wonderful also. For those of you avoiding carbs, simply do not dredge the cod. With butter or butter substitute, brown the cod on both sides in a cast iron pan. Transfer the fish to a glass dish and bake at 400 for the same amount of time in the recipe.

Serving suggestions: Serve immediately with Lebanese rice and this Mediterranean chickpea salad or this traditional Greek salad.

This recipe is adapted from https://www.themediterraneandish.com/baked-cod-recipe-lemon-garlic/

  • 1.5 pounds Pacific Cod
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 5 cloves diced garlic
  • 3-4 diced roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup large Spanish capers
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose or semolina flour (I prefer semolina)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix lemon juice, olive oil, and melted butter in a shallow bowl. Set aside

In another shallow bowl, mix all-purpose flour, spices, salt and pepper. Set next to the lemon juice mixture.

Pat fish fillet dry. Dip fish in the lemon juice mixture then dip in the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (watch the oil to be sure it is sizzling but not smoking). Add fish and sear on each side to give it some color, but do not fully cook (about a couple minutes on each side) Remove from heat.

To the remaining lemon juice mixture, add the minced garlic and mix. Drizzle all over the fish fillets.

Bake in the heated oven for until it begins to flake easily with a fork (10 minutes should do it, but begin checking earlier). Remove from heat and sprinkle chopped parsley.