Cornbread Crusted Cod

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.  With Lentil & Spinach salad on the side.  Yum!

Cornbread Crusted Cod. With Lentil & Spinach salad on the side. Yum!

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

For sauce:
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.

A little zippy sauce to coat the fish.  Tastes great and makes the crumbs stick really nicely!

A little zippy sauce to coat the fish. Adds flavor, keeps the fish moist and makes the crumbs stick really nicely!

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.

These cornbread croutons were a new discovery for me.  If you can't find them, you can use whatever croutons you have.

These cornbread croutons were a new discovery for me. If you can’t find them, you can use whatever croutons you have.

One at a time, put fish filets in the bag and shake to coat with crumbs.  Lay out on the baking sheet.

My own version of shake n bake.

My own version of shake n bake.

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.

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