How to Cook Cod: Easy Cod Cooking Tips and Recipe

Cod
(Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for the New York Culinary Experience)

Eating fish regularly is part of healthy diet and can help in weight loss. Fish has many health benefits, cod included. Loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals, cod is an excellent source of lean protein that has a mild flavor and is versatile when cooking. How to cook cod? It is quite easy and requires little preparation and time.

It is one of those foods that can be made on a busy night or when it’s later than you might want for dinner. Within 35 minutes, the cod can be ready to eat using a number of cod recipes for variation in flavor. Paired with some vegetables and a healthy carb, such as brown rice, cod makes an excellent meal.

Studies have shown that cold water fish like cod and salmon are beneficial for people with atherosclerosis, diabetes, and heart disease. People who eat fish regularly tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and heart attack than those who don’t incorporate fish into their diets regularly.

Cod is very high in vitamin B12, which is essential to keeping the nervous system running smoothly, and has a ton of blood-thinning omega-3 fatty acids that make it fantastic for preventing cardiovascular disease. Cod also has a good amount of niacin (a B vitamin) that can help contribute to lowering high cholesterol levels.

One thing to be aware of is that the Natural Resources Defense Council rates cod as a moderate source of mercury. Mercury is known to interfere with neurological development in children and pregnant women or those women who are nursing. Care should be taken for these people when eating cod, and amounts ingested should be limited to no more than six servings a month.

Make sure to buy your cod from a trusted fish monger who sources local fish or at least fish from North America. Fresh or frozen is fine; it won’t impact the nutritional value of the fish.

How to Cook Cod

Cooking cod is relatively easy and it is fast. The flesh of the fish is light and flaky, and it tends to fall apart easily. The ways to cook cod are many. It can be grilled on the BBQ, fried in a pan on the stove, or baked in the oven. It can even be steamed for a low-fat alternative, but it might be low on taste as well compared to the other methods.

All methods listed above are quick and impart a different flavor to the fish. If a grill is handy, it is definitely a nice way to cook the fish to get a lovely smoky flavor, especially if smoking chips are added to the barbecue itself.

How to cook cod in a pan? Simple as well. Melt some butter or use a teaspoon of oil and lay the fish into the pan, cooking for about six minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the fish.

If using frozen fillets, pat dry with some paper towels to remove excess water that tends to accumulate when thawing. When buying the cod, it should have no unpleasant smell and should be firm to the touch. The flesh should be white all over and free of any markings. Going to a fish market is ideal because you can look over each piece of fish before buying.

How to Bake Cod

Baked cod is delicious and simple to make. Because the fish has a mild, delicate flavor, you want to pair it with equally mild spices and flavors. Butter, oil, garlic, and onions with some salt and pepper are all that is needed, along with some lemon slices, and variations can be created with these few ingredients.

To bake cod, you will need aluminum foil or a baking dish. Parchment cooking pouches are also a good way to cook cod in the oven if those are available to you. Whichever of the three you choose is fine; try all three at different times and see what difference it makes in how the fish tastes and cooks.

Prepare the fish by laying it on the pan or on a plate if using a parchment pouch. Lightly oil the fish with good quality extra virgin olive oil, or coat with melted butter depending on your preference. Add some salt and pepper. Slice up a lemon into thin pieces, and then lay a few slices on top of the fish. This in itself will make a flavorful fish. If you like, you can add some thinly sliced onions and minced garlic. Leave it out, too, or use in place of the lemon.

You can keep the fish open in the baking dish or cover with foil. If covered, it will be more moist and will not have the nice golden brown top it has when left uncovered. If using a parchment pouch, fold the pouch and then place in a shallow dish to ensure any juices won’t leak into the base of the oven. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

How to Grill Cod in Foil

Cooking cod in foil is great because the foil can be tossed afterward, making clean up that much easier. Cod in foil can be cooked in the oven or on a grill. Prepare the cod fish how you like, or how mentioned above. Place on the foil with all the other ingredients chosen and then close to create a well-sealed pouch.

It is best to place this foil pouch on some kind of baking dish or at least another layer of foil so any drippings can be caught before messing up the base of the oven. On the grill, this isn’t as much of an issue. Cook for about 20 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the fish.

Easy-to-Make Cod Recipe

Cod fillets recipes are easy to find and there are a few so that boredom doesn’t settle in. Below is one delicious recipe for you to make this week.

Glazed Cod with Asparagus and Rice

You will need:

  • 1 cup rice
    1/4cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 pound black cod or salmon
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice according to the directions given on the package. Mix the hoisin sauce and a tablespoon of water in a bowl. Put the fish, skin-side down, on a foil-lined baking pan and spread the sauce on top. It is better if you have time to let it sit for 30 minutes. Toss asparagus and oil with a ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place the vegetables evenly around fish. Cook on broil; turn the asparagus once. The fish should cook in eight minutes, but this depends on the thickness of the cut of fish. Serve with the rice.


Sources:

“Cod,” The World’s Healthiest Foods web site; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=133, last accessed January 10, 2017.

Busch, S., “Is Cod a Healthy Fish to Eat?,” Livestrong web site, January 19, 2014; http://www.livestrong.com/article/362107-is-cod-a-healthy-fish-to-eat/, last accessed January 10, 2017.

“Glazed Cod With Asparagus and Mushrooms,” Real Simple web site; http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/glazed-cod-asparagus-mushrooms, last accessed January 10, 2017.