Fish is hailed for its versatility, but cod requires thoughtful preparation. Its flaky, delicate texture makes it a poor contender for the rigors of grilling; it is likely to fall apart even in highly skilled hands. Still, if you’ve savored the taste of cod as it's known best—in the form of fish and chips—there’s a creative way to gently bread cod fillets and bake them. Otherwise, bring out the best in cod fillets by topping them before you broil them or after you steam them.
Things You'll Need
- Cod fillets
- Instant-read thermometer
Baked Cod Fillets
Prepare a crunchy topping for your baked Atlantic cod fillets. Crush some corn flakes or croutons in a bowl with a potato masher. Avoid creating a fine mass, like bread crumbs. Some texture in the crumbs will enhance your enjoyment of the cod. Add a few dashes of seasoning and stir.
Baste the fillets liberally with melted butter. Sprinkle the fillets with a bold herb that enhances the mild flavor of cod, like basil, cilantro, dill, ginger or tarragon.
Spoon a layer of crunchy topping on each cod fillet and press it into the flesh. Spray the fillets with nonfat cooking spray to keep the topping in place and to intensify the crunch factor of the topping.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the bottom of a baking dish with nonfat cooking spray. Set the cod fillets inside, separating them slightly so that the oven heat can easily circulate. Bake the fillets for 5 to 10 minutes. Check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. It should reach at least 145 F.
Broiled Cod Fillets
Prepare a tomato-based topping for your broiled Atlantic cod fillets. Think in terms of pesto sauce, sun-dried tomatoes or diced tomatoes mixed with a little tomato paste -- options that will add flavor and moisture without saturating the cod with too much liquid.
Baste the fillets with olive oil and perhaps some Italian seasoning. Top each fillet with a spoonful of the tomato-based topping.
Broil the fillets for about 5 minutes, without turning them. Top with a little Parmesan cheese, if you like.
Steamed Cod Fillets
Set up your steamer or a large pot with a rack set inside, such as the one you use for cooling freshly baked cookies. Pour a few inches of water in the steamer or pot and place the cod fillets on the rack. Bring the water to a boil, making sure that it does not touch the fillets. The fish should sit about 2 inches above the boiling water.
Cover the steamer or pot and let the cod fillets steam for between 5 and 10 minutes, turning them over once. Test the fillets to ensure that they reach the minimum safe temperature without overcooking them, either.
Season the fillets while they’re warm. Consider a warmed raspberry vinaigrette, sweet and sour sauce or herbed horseradish sauce if you want to experiment with something beyond the traditional butter and fresh lemon mixture and parsley flakes.
Tips & Warnings
- No matter how you choose to cook your cod fillets, heed the "no more than 10-minute" rule, or the one that says fish should be cooked for no more than a total of 10 minutes for every 1 inch of thickness. Fish should be moist and flaky, and overcooking it even slightly can make it tough and chewy.
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