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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AUTHOR

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.