Knowing how to cook fish well is an essential skill for any at-home chef. Once you get this recipe for pan-fried cod in your repertoire, you’ll feel more confident in your cooking than ever.
All About Cod
Cod has a mild flavor and a firm texture. It’s known for its high oil content, which makes it a relatively easy fish to cook. Leaner, less oily fish tend to overcook more quickly, so cod is a great place to start if you’re not a seasoned chef.
Thanks to its mild, not-too-fishy taste, pan-fried cod is a dish that will please even the pickiest eaters. It’s also a nutritious main course thanks to its high protein content, as well as the omega-3s it contains.
Cooking Cod the Right Way
Follow these steps to make delicious pan-fried cod.
Pan Fried Cod Ingredients
- Start with high-quality cod filets, which you can purchase at your local grocery store. If you use JOW, you won’t even have to choose them yourself! We’ll create your grocery list, optimize it for the number of people that you’re feeding, and then arrange to have your groceries delivered or set for pick-up. This way, all you have to worry about is the actual cooking.
- Pair the filets with fresh lemon, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs like parsley and thyme.
- We recommend pairing cod with one of these three side dishes – mashed peas, mashed potatoes, or greens, as well as steamed cruciferous veggies. We’ll teach you how to make these tasty side dishes below.
Pan-Frying Cod Step by Step
- In order to give your cod a seared texture, you’ll need to ensure the filets are dried before they go in the pan. Pat them dry with clean hand towels or paper towels, avoiding putting any pressure on the filets.
- Next, season each filet with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.
- Before putting your fish in a pan, make sure the pan is ready to go. Cod is best cooked in a cast-iron skillet that has been greased with butter or olive oil. Get the pan to medium heat before adding the cod.
- Let the cod cook for two minutes on each side, then flip. After flipping, add a bit more butter to the skillet if you want. The extra butter will make the filets even crispier and richer.
- To determine whether the fish is done cooking, use a meat thermometer or inspect the color and texture. Cod is cooked once it hits 145 degrees, but you can also tell it’s ready to eat when it’s solid white in the middle, and pieces flake off easily.
Sides for Pan-Fried Cod
Just one filet of pan-fried cod is rich, satisfying, and delicious, and it makes the perfect main course for a classy at-home dinner. You can make the fish taste even better by following these tips.
Serve Your Cod With Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli
Mashed potatoes are the best, and they pair perfectly with pan-fried cod. Here’s how we like to make ours.
- We recommend using yellow russet potatoes, which are instantly recognizable by their small size and smooth, golden skin. When mashed, these potatoes have a soft, rich texture, and they’re the perfect vessels for plenty of salt and butter.
- Before mashing your potatoes, you can easily cook them by boiling them in a pot of water. Determine when the potatoes are fully cooked by piercing them with a fork.
- As your potatoes cook, whip up another simple, delicious side dish – steamed broccoli. All you need is sliced broccoli florets (use fresh, not frozen), salt, and another pot of boiling water. Let the broccoli cook in the water, then drain it and set it aside.
Don’t Want Potatoes? Try a Side of Greens Instead
If you’re avoiding carbs or aren’t crazy about mashed potatoes, we’ve got a great alternative for you. Instead of mashed potatoes, serve your pan-fried cod with greens.
Here’s how to make them.
- To make a side of greens for pan-fried cod, you need fresh broccoli, fresh cauliflower, and shallots.
- Boil a large pot of water and add salt to taste.
- As the water boils, wash your broccoli and cauliflower and cut them into florets.
- Once the water is boiling, add the florets and let them cook. Drain the water using a colander and set the florets aside to cool.
Mashed Peas: A Unique and Tasty Side for Pan-Fried Cod
We’ve got another great low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes for you – mashed peas.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying mashed peas, the idea might seem a bit odd. But while mashed peas aren’t the most popular side dish ever, they’re one of the tastiest pairings for fish like tilapia and cod.
All you need to make mashed peas is a bag of frozen green peas, high-quality butter, red wine vinegar, a shallot, and a blender or food processor. Here’s how to do it:
- Wash and chop your shallots. You’ll be making beurre blanc, a traditional French cream sauce that pairs perfectly with cod and peas.
- As the peas cook in boiling water, turn a frying pan on low heat and add a dab of butter. Add the chopped shallots and let them cook, stirring often to mix with the butter.
- Add red wine vinegar and allow it to evaporate to create a red wine vinegar reduction. Reducing an ingredient evaporates the majority of the liquid and leaves you with a syrupy, flavorful concoction.
- Once the red wine vinegar has evaporated, turn the heat onto the lowest possible setting to let the sauce simmer. Add more butter in small increments mixing it in with a whisk.
- Once the peas are fully cooked, drain the water using a colander and put them in your blender. Add the rest of your butter and blend until the peas are fully mashed.
How To Season Pan-Fried Cod
Pan-fried cod pairs perfectly with any of the spices listed below.
- Try serving your cod with a mix of fresh garlic and lemon juice. Lemon, garlic, and salt and pepper are a simple seasoning combination that perfectly accentuates the light, mild flavors of the cod. We recommend using fresh garlic cloves when cooking cod – fresh spices always get you the best flavors.
- If you’re not a fan of garlicky fish, opt for a spicier blend instead. To give your cod a kick, cook each filet using a dab of your favorite hot sauce, along with sliced jalapeno peppers for extra flavor.
How Long Does Cod Stay Fresh?
If you’ve made enough pan-fried cod to have leftovers, you can store it in the fridge safely by following these tips:
- Cod can only stay fresh in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. If your cod is haphazardly wrapped in plastic and thrown in the refrigerator, it’s likely to lose its freshness faster.
- It’s safest to eat your leftover cod within a day or two of cooking.
- You can reheat your pan-fried cod by putting it back in a skillet with a bit of oil. Keep the heat relatively low to avoid overcooking. We never recommend putting leftover fish in the microwave – it’ll make your kitchen smell fishy for days.
- If you want to make your leftovers last even longer, freeze your filets in a sealed container. Cod tends to reheat well after being frozen, and you can leave it in the freezer for up to three months before using it all. Just remember that frozen cod needs to be thawed before cooking.
Want More Cooking Tips and Inspiration?
If you want to take your at-home cooking to the next level, all you need to do is head over to our recipe page. There, you’ll find tons of inspiration for what to make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and more. You can also check out our blog to find additional advice about all things food!