The Only Ling Cod Recipe You Need

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Baked Cod on a bed of zucchini risotto and topped with oven roasted tomato relish

One of My Best Seafood Recipes

We fell in love with this simple and healthy baked cod main course. My favorite seafood to use for this easy recipe is the various types of cods. I prefer the west coast varieties that usually are fished in Alaska such as lingcod fillets, and black cod. They are a delicious white fish fillet with a mild flaky texture. Black Cod will have a large flake and will be a little meatier but is a little harder to find. The fresh black cod season is late spring and early summer. Fresh ling cod can be found more year-round. True cod will also be found year-round and is a more delicate fish compared to ling and black cod.

My Ling Cod Recipe

You will find that many recipes out there will claim to be easy fish recipes, but are they? And are they a healthy meal? Quality seafood deserves more than to be coated with melted butter and lemon pepper or finished with lemon butter sauce and capers. This dish is a fresh cod fillet lightly seasoned with fine sea salt, a little lemon zest, and a few cracks of black pepper. We place it on a bed of a citrusy zucchini parmesan cheese risotto and then pulse some homemade oven-roasted tomatoes into almost a puree with some California Olive Oil. The whole process will take you less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I fell in love with the combination of flavors a long time ago and it became my favorite way to enjoy light white fish. Nothing overpowers the others. Just a delicious fish dish.

Is it better to bake or sear cod?

Baking the cod creates a white flaky flesh. I choose this over searing with the frypan method as I did not want the golden brown crust. With true cod, the better way to cook is roasting it at medium heat on a baking pan as it can be too delicate to handle in a frying pan. If you are going to pan-sear it though in some melted butter and a little oil, then I would cook it through all on one side. That means that you will sear the fish over medium-high heat for about a minute before transferring the pan to the oven to finish. Attempting to turn the fish in the pan too early will cause it to fall apart on you. Ling and Black Cod are more forgiving but you still need to use some finesse when dealing with these fish.

What if I can’t find fresh cod?

Haddock from the east coast is a good alternative for west coast cod. You can also find sustainable and smart alternatives to all your seafood on the Seafood Watch website. Created by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Seafood Watch is designed to educate consumers so that we can make more educated decisions both for our families and for the environment. Support those who fish responsibly.

Where do you buy good seafood?

Finding a good fish monger is incredibly important. It will be the difference between enjoying seafood and just tolerating seafood. Outside of shrimp, I won’t buy seafood from the big box stores. One, they rarely have a good quality product on hand, and if they do it’s not fresh since it will be significantly more expensive than the industrially farmed seafood. In Texas I shop, and trust Central Market for my seafood purchases, we used the same vendor for seafood at our restaurants so I know the quality is there.

How can you tell if fish is bad?

The best way to tell if seafood is bad, or going bad is to smell it. A strong ammonia odor is a tell-tale sign that it’s time to hit the trash… your neighbor’s trash. If you don’t smell ammonia then it may still have some life to it. If it feels slightly slimy and the slime has no odors then you are still safe to eat the fish. It will not be as fresh and may have a more pronounced seafood taste but it won’t hurt you. Fresh seafood will have a firm texture, no slime, and no odor, and should not have the famous “seafood” aftertaste.

How can I tell if the fish was previously frozen?

A lot of fish is frozen while at sea. Sometimes it’s the only option when buying. Hopefully, it is disclosed on the tag when you are buying. But how do you tell if it is labeled fresh but something just doesn’t look right? When frozen, then thawed correctly, it can be close to fresh in terms of quality. How to tell if it was handled properly during the process is a quick look. Does the raw fillet look like someone took a box cutter to it? Does it look like it has dents in it… like about the size of the thumb of the guy at the fish counter? Poorly frozen and thawed seafood will have a soft mushy texture and there is nothing anyone can do to fix it.

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Baked Cod on a bed of zucchini risotto topped with oven roasted tomato jam and tomato oil drizzled around the plate

Baked Cod with Zucchini Risotto

  • Author: Chad Kelley
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 1x


Such a simple and refreshing main course. Perfect on a sunny day with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a citrusy Chardonnay.


  • 4 x 6oz Portions of Cod. Either True Cod, Ling Cod or Black Cod
  • Lemon Zest, finely grated or minced
  • Olive Oil
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1/4 White Onion, minced
  • 1 Tbl Garlic, Minced
  • 1 large Zucchini, diced
  • 1 oz Fresh Basil, chiffonade or hand torn
  • 1 Tbl Grated Parmesan
  • Lemon Juice to taste
  • Oven Roasted Tomatoes


  1. Season the cod filets with the fine sea salt, lemon zest and a light drizzle of olive oil. Let them rest at room temperature while preparing the risotto.
  2. For the risotto, “cheaters risotto” boil 4 cups of water.
  3. Once at a boil, add the arborio rice and set a timer for 8 minutes. Boil the rice, stirring occasionally.
  4. With a colander set inside a large bowl, strain the rice so that you are able to save the water.
  5. If you are not using the rice right away then transfer to a baking sheet and cool it in the refrigerator.
  6. In a large 12″ saute pan, add 1 Tbl of olive oil and let it heat up over medium heat for 1 minute.
  7. Add the minced onion and season with a touch of sea salt. Stir to coat with the oil. Sweat the onions until translucent. If you notice you are starting to get some color to the onions then turn down the heat and continue cooking on low. You want the onions to become sweat and almost dissolve into the risotto once you add it.
  8. Once translucent, add the squash and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Add the minced garlic and stir into the zucchini. Making sure not to toast the garlic or the onions.
  10. Next add 1/2 of the water that you saved from boiling the rice with the cooked arborio rice.
  11. Stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until it becomes thick. Taste the rice, checking for doneness. If the rice is done to your tasting, add the parmesan cheese, lemon juice and a little more of the reserved water. The risotto should be creamy and soft, not thick and dense. Once the consistency is to your liking, fold in the fresh basil and turn off the heat.
  12. For the tomato mixture I use my oven roasted tomatoes that I keep in the fridge. You can find the recipe here. I put them into a mini-prep food processor and pulse with a little olive oil.  It will not emulsify but it will help turn the oil red and give it some extra flavors. Spoon small amounts of this on top of the finished baked cod.
  13. Bake the cod at 425º for about 15 minutes. I do not look for an internal temperature as much as it is a feel. When gently pressed, does the fish want to give way or does it still have a little resistance? When it barely has any resistance left is when you want to pull it from the oven.


You can easily substitute the Cod for Alaskan Halibut or Salmon.

  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Healthy

Keywords: Cod Recipes, Ling Cod Recipes, Seafood Recipes, Healthy Recipes

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Chad Kelley
Hi!! This is Chef Chad. I'm a former restaurant chef and turned stay-at-home dad. My wife Yvette and two amazing kids live in North Dallas and are Huge FC Dallas fans.