Eat Cod, Your Heart Will Thank You.
By Mary Cokenour
Welcome to Utah, a landlocked state. For folks who enjoy eating seafood, this fact can be quite frustrating. Unless you are lucky to live in an area, with lakes, stocked with bass, trout, maybe even catfish, and happen to enjoy fishing; the supermarket is your only source. Even then, much of the seafood available is frozen and shipped in from other countries, many with dubious quality control standards.
However, you just might be lucky enough to have a butcher at your local market; one that brings in fresh seafood, and when the prices are reasonable. At Blue Mountain Foods, in Monticello, UT, Josh is the head butcher, and he is making the effort to introduce fish to the community. Fish, depending on the species, happens to be packed in nutritional value, and good for overall health.
Sidetrack here, while chatting with Josh, I happened to see his second in command, John, grinding fresh beef. The rich, red color of the meat, mixed with the whiteness of just the correct amount of fat, enticed me to stock up that day. Oh, yes, you are so welcome for my last recipe on copycat White Castle burgers.
Alright, back to fish. Josh’s suppliers are on the west coast, mainly California and Oregon. The fish he purchases can either be wild caught, or farm raised; but they are brought in fresh. The fish, which is iced, not frozen, could be flown to Salt Lake City and trucked down the same day. Or, overnighted in even less time, insuring the fish arrives fresh, and is sold the same way…fresh! Are we seeing the pattern here?
My latest purchase was a beautiful 1 and ¾ lbs. slab of cod; one inch at the thickest part, firm and fresh smelling. That’s right, if fish has a really harsh fishy smell, chances are it is not in its best condition. Also note, if fish has been frozen, thawed and refrozen, the texture will change from firm to rubbery. Chances are, no matter how it is cooked, that rubbery texture will remain.
4 ounces (112 grams) of cod contains:
Half of the fat content is Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. Vitamins in cod are B12, C, D and Iron. While all this is good for the heart, and the diet, it is also good to know that cod is low in mercury, as opposed to a more popular fish…tuna.
Of course depending on how you cook the fish, and what ingredients are added, the carb and fat contain might go up. I baked the cod with a seasoned panko topping and olive oil, so, yes, the carb and fat count went up, but not too drastically.
Panko Baked Cod
1 and ¾ lbs. cod (cut into 5 portions=3 and ½ oz./portion)
1 and ½ cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
½ tsp. fine sea salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. dry dill
½ tsp. dried, crushed parsley
½ tsp. paprika
Preheat oven to 400F.
Drizzle olive oil into baking dish, or metal nonstick pan, and place fish, bottom side down, onto oil. Drizzle oil, about teaspoon, over each portion of fish.
In a bowl, mix together panko, seasonings and herbs. Press on top of, and along sides, each fish portion.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Makes 5 servings.
As a side dish, I baked asparagus in foil, topped with butter and garlic, in the same oven. However, previous to placing the fish and asparagus into the oven, I had prepped some potatoes for roasting, and started those a half hour before. So, all three items were ready to eat at the same time. As to the overall carb and fat content, out the window those flew, but it sure did taste great!
Here are a few bonus recipes of mine, and, of course, no decent list of recipes would not include English Style Fish and Chips. Eat your fish, not just for health reasons, but because it tastes so good!
Baked Cod and Squash
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup olive oil, divided in half
2 Tbsp. Italian herbal mix, divided in half
2 tsp coarse sea salt, divided in half
1 tsp garlic powder
2 (6 oz) cod fillets, one inch thick, bones and skin removed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400F. In a 1 and 1/2 quart glass baking dish, spread the squash slices over the bottom. Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil over the slices; sprinkle one tablespoon of the herbal mix, one teaspoon of sea salt and the one teaspoon of garlic powder over them.
Lay the cod fillets (skin side up) on top of the squash; drizzle with remaining olive oil; sprinkle remaining herbal mix and sea salt; drizzle lemon juice over all. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes; until cod is opaque and flakes easily. Remove one fillet and portion of squash to plate; spoon liquid from baking dish over all.
Makes 2 servings.
Baked Cod in Foil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 (6 oz) cod fillet, 1 inch thick, skin removed
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except the fish. Brush skin side of fish liberally with the mixture; place skin side down in center of large square of aluminum foil. Pour remaining mixture over fish; fold long sides of foil together several times before folding up ends to make a packet. Make sure foil is not folded too tightly around fish or steam from baking may cause it to burst open.
Place foil packet onto small aluminum baking tray; bake for 15 to 20 minutes; fish will be opaque. Remove to plate; spoon liquid over fish and over a portion of steamed vegetables or small baked potato.
English Style Fish and Chips
2 cups flour, divided in half (1 cup for batter, 1 cup for dredging)
¾ cup beer or ale
¾ cup milk
¾ cup white wine
½ tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. each salt and pepper
6 large potatoes (red skinned or golden yellow), cut roughly into 1” pieces
2 lbs. cod, or any other white meat fish (pollock, flounder), cut into 4” pieces
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, eggs, beer, milk, wine, cream of tartar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Mix well, cover and chill for 1 hour.
Fill deep fryer to maximum line, or large skillet ½ way up, with canola oil; heat to 375-400F. Cook potatoes until just lightly browned; drain on paper towels; season with salt; transfer to cookie sheet. When done frying, place potatoes in oven (set at 200F) to keep warm.
Remix batter; dredge fish pieces into remaining 1 cup of flour; dip into batter and place in hot oil (3-4 pieces at a time). When batter turns golden brown and begins to puff, drain on paper towels.
Serve fish and chips with tartar sauce, malt vinegar or any other desired condiment.
Makes 4 servings.