This is an easy recipe that will show you how to cook perfect, flaky and delicious cod! You can create so many different types of mealtimes with great seafood.
I know cooking seafood, especially any type of fish can make some people a little nervous in the kitchen. There's some valid reasons for it like, If I undercook it will I make myself sick or good quality fish can be expensive so I don't want to risk ruining it but I want to let you know that fish is really easy to cook. Cooking a steak gives me way more anxiety than seafood because fish can be more forgiving than a $20 per pound tenderloin filet, which if cooked two minutes too long can take it from a juicy medium rare to a well done and dry steak.
If you stick to a few basic rules when cooking fish, you should end up with delicious chunks of tender flakes. For this recipe I'm using cod but the basic instructions are the same with plenty of other similar fish such as salmon, tilapia, halibut or any firm flesh fish. Let me show you how to cook delicious cod!
WHAT ARE MY BASIC RULES FOR HOW TO COOK COD?
I always recommend a good, well seasoned non stick pan. I have some pans in my kitchen that are just okay for cooking some foods that are pretty hardy, but when it comes to fragile flaky fish I need to know that it will definitely not stick to the pan. A cast iron pan is a great choice but if you don't have one you can use any good quality non stick pan. I have a couple of pans I've had for years and I know nothing will stick to them no matter what I cook in them like these pans I found from IKEA!
I like to use canola oil as the first liquid in the pan instead of butter which I find burns too quickly. Canola also has a higher smoke point than olive oil. I'll add the butter in the last few minutes of cooking just to baste the fish and give it that buttery, nutty flavor.
High heat is a must! Don't be scared to crank up the heat because in order to keep your fish moist, it's good to create a nice sear on it before it goes in the oven where it'll keep cooking at a high temperature.
WHAT TEMPERATURE SHOULD I COOK COD AT?
I have a gas stove and when I want to sear ingredients like cod or salmon, I will have the flame at medium-high. When you buy your cod it will probably have the skin removed but you'll still have a bottom side and top side of the fish. I like to sear the top side first and then finish the cooking off in a preheated oven at around 425 degrees F. This is another great reason to learn how to cook cod, it has to be cooked quickly so dinner can be on the table fast and that's helpful on busy weeknights!
HOW SHOULD I SEASON MY FISH?
Keep it simple, good fish tastes amazing with just sea salt, coarse black pepper and a squirt of lemon juice after it has cooked. Adding fresh herbs is always a great way to kick things up as well. This Seared Salmon recipe is one of the most popular recipes on my blog and I added fresh sage to the pan as it cooked. Usually I prefer to add the chopped herbs as a garnish and sprinkle them on the plate right before I serve it. This also makes for impressive presentation and keeps the flavors fresh. Fish doesn't need any heavy sauces, but if you prefer a sauce, keep them light and fresh like this Citrus Butter Sauce with Fresh Basil
HOW LONG DOES COD TAKE TO COOK?
Each piece of cod in this recipe weighs about 6-8 ounces and is seared in the pan for about 3-4 minutes on the first side. After that the pan is transferred to the hot oven to cook for a further 12-14 minutes. You'll know your cod is ready by lightly pressing down on it with your finger. If it feels firm, then it's ready but if it still feels soft then a few minutes more is probably needed. The fish will also separate into gorgeous white flakes when pressed down lightly with a fork.
CAN I COOK MY COD AHEAD OF TIME AND REHEAT IT?
I have to say no to this and only because the cod will be dry and you'll lose the experience of eating amazing fresh fish. Also for all the time it takes to cook, you might as well cook it fresh and you'll still have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!
WHAT CAN I SERVE MY COD WITH?
- Roasted vegetables
- Cauliflower rice or regular brown rice
- Mashed potatoes
- Wilted spinach and lemon
- Penne pasta
- Steamed vegetables