I remember a day when I was eight or so. I was at my grandparents’ house. Some of the guys had gone fishing and came home with a couple of enormous fish. They set up a couple of saw horses and threw a piece of wood over and starting carving those babies up in the backyard. I watched from the bing cherry tree that was my usual perch. Big slabs of firm, white fish, not as smelly and gross as I was expecting. When I asked what it was I was told it was cod. My grandma fried a big batch of it up and it was some of the best fish ‘n chips I’ve ever had to this day.
Cod is a great fish to cook with. Very versatile. It’s firm enough that it doesn’t fall apart when you cook it, but tender and mild, and goes with a variety of flavors and ingredients. It’s also usually pretty inexpensive and available year-round. And it’s an ocean-friendly choice as well (who doesn’t want to save the ocean?). For the freshest cod, choose the whiter filets. If they look a little grey, they are likely not as fresh as they should be.
I found these great cornbread croutons and used them to make the crumb coating for these filets. I don’t see any reason why another kind of crouton (or bread crumbs) couldn’t be substituted instead if you don’t happen to have these on hand, but I did enjoy the corny texture and flavor.
Cornbread Crusted Cod
3-4 Cod Filets
1 tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cayenne
3/4 – 1 cup cornbread croutons
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp. capers (coarsely chopped if they are large)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a small bowl mix mayo, dijon, lemon juice and cayenne. Brush onto both sides of fish filets.
Put croutons in a ziplock bag and grind some black pepper in there with them (if you don’t have cornbread croutons, any kind will work for this). Using a rolling pin or the flat side of a tenderizing hammer (or anything really), smash the croutons into crumbs.
One at a time, put fish filets in the bag and shake to coat with crumbs. Lay out on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork and crumb coating is crispy and golden brown. To make a quick sauce, mix a couple of tablespoons of mayo with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of capers. Drizzle over the top or serve with lemon wedges.