Baked Cod with Garlic and Herb Bread Crumbs

Baking fish is a new frontier for me. I loved eating salmon and lobster as a kid, but for some reason my taste buds changed and I just could not eat fish from middle school through most of college. Slowly but surely, my appreciation for seafood is coming back. I can eat salmon, cod, scrod, and other fresh white fish. I’m warming up to lobster and scallops again, and I can maybe stand a well-cooked piece of fried calamari. Freshness is absolutely crucial for me when it comes to fish. Does anyone want to eat fish that repulsively smells fishy? I hope not. Some seafood naturally smells like the sea, and that is completely acceptable. There is a difference between fresh-like-the-sea-fishy smell and old-fishy smell. Fish is also extremely good for your health with omega-3 fatty acids. If you are concerned about both omega-3 and environmental friendliness, here is a good resource for the best fish to buy. If you live in or near a coastal area, go to your local fish market and ask the workers there about how they fish and which fish are freshest that day.

Another dish I made with my parents while in Cape Cod was, you guessed it, baked cod. I went to the fish market with my Dad to learn what to look for in a good piece of fish. You want the piece to be fairly thick with a good, translucent white color, like this:

Good, Fresh Cod
Good, Fresh Cod

Buying fresh fish ensures that your fish will not taste the bad kind of fishy, and this is especially the truth for white fish.

Baked Cod with Garlic Herb Bread Crumbs

  • 1 long, thick fillet of fresh cod
  • 2 shallots (or 1/2 onion)
  • 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Ritz cracker crumbs and/or fresh bread crumbs (You can use plain bread crumbs or panko, too)
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Chop your shallots, and parsley. You can chop the garlic or crush the garlic with a garlic press.

3. Saute the shallots (and/or onion) and crushed garlic in the butter and olive oil.

4. When the shallots/onions and garlic are translucent, add about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and a tablespoon of sherry.

5. Add your spices: salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder, and the chopped fresh parsley.

6. Add the crushed Ritz cracker crumbs, fresh bread crumbs, or plain/panko bread crumbs to the pan. You can use a combination of crumbs, but my parents say they’ve had most success with either Ritz or fresh bread crumbs. Combine until moist. You can also add grated cheese here too. You want a moist (not soggy) crumb mixture so that it stays on the fish. Add a little more melted butter or olive oil if you need the mixture to be more moist.

7. Spoon the crumb mixture onto the cod.

Garlic Herb Crumb Mixture on Cod
Garlic Herb Crumb Mixture on Cod

8. Put in fish in the oven and start by baking it for 25 minutes. You want the fish to be white and flaky in the middle, not translucent or raw looking. You can continue to cook it at 5 minute intervals until it becomes white and flaky when checked.

Baked to perfection!
Baked to perfection!

Note: We had plain bread crumbs in our kitchen, so the cod shown here is how it looks with that. Comment with any questions or results from baking your own fresh fish!

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