Now that sustainable Pacific Cod is in season, I’ve been renewing my love affair with this super-mild whitefish. It’s fun to get fancy sometimes, but usually I try to keep things as simple as possible – and the following two recipes are VERY simple, so simple a recipes’s not even needed.
Pan Seared Cod
Of course I was tempted to batter and deep fry my cod, I rarely do because I prefer to keep it healthy, and deep frying gets messy. Simple seasoning and searing in a pan produces a nicely textured fish that’s brown on the outside, moist and delicate on the inside. A great method for almost any fish, I had never tried it with cod before, but I’ll definitely do it again!
|Pan Seared Cod
Start with a heavy skillet and preheat it over a medium high flame. Meanwhile, brush fish with oil and sprinkle with seasonings of your choice. Plain old salt and pepper will do, I blended my Tuscan Grill Rub with olive oil and spread that on.
Once the skillet is nice and hot, add fish and sear the first side until brown, about 3-4 minutes depending on conditions. Carefully turn over, turn off flame and let the residual heat finish the fish – it could also be transferred to the oven for about five minutes.
I also sautéed onions in the pan (about 10 minutes over low flame) with olive oil and Tuscan Grill Rub and served them on the side with Barley and Wild Rice Pilaf I just finished for our deli.
Cod with Buttered Breadcrumbs
Everyone loves those crispy breadcrumbs! They’re simple to make, start with regular or panko breadcrumbs and season to taste (Tuscan Grill Rub and Parmesan would be nice here), or use a pre seasoned crumb like our Parma Panko, Southwest Panko or Tortilla Breadcrumbs. Melt a little butter in the microwave and toss with the crumbs to moisten lightly. Olive oil would work nicely here as well.
Keep the fish as cold as possible until time to cook and preheat the oven to about 425 degrees; fish cooks fast, so these two steps will aid in quick browning without overcooking. I like to brush the fish with seasoned olive oil, but just a sprinkle of seasoning will do the trick. Place the fish in on a shallow pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with the buttered breadcrumbs, generally packing on all the fish will hold (they’re delicious!).
Transfer pan to the top shelf of the oven (top shelf means better browning), convection fan on if available. Cook attentively until browned – but take care not to overcook! A cut like cod is usually done in less than 10 minutes. If it’s not browned in 7-8 minutes, the broiler will do the trick – but stay nearby, broilers can burn in a matter of seconds.
Of course both of these techniques will work nicely on almost any fish – the keys to success are keeping the fish cold (even frozen is good), using high heat and cooking the fish quickly so it doesn’t dry out. Cheers and Buon Appetito!
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