For several decades, cod has been one of Britain’s most popular fish. It is only recently that is was passed by salmon as the nation’s favorite fish. This goes to say that the reports saying that there were only 100 adult North Sea cod left are quite misleading. However, cod remains vulnerable to overfishing. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that this delicious fish cannot be enjoyed. We suggest that you try to buy sustainable fish like line-caught Pacific cod.
In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about cooking and serving cod, from cooking it on the hob or in the oven to tips on where to sourcing cod and recipe ideas that useuse cod as one of its main ingredients.
Things to Look for When Buying Cod
Today, cods are usually available fresh or already cut and frozen in fillets or loins. However, you can also buy them in whole or in steak cuts too. Like any other fish, one of the most important things you should remember when purchasing cods is to make sure you choose the freshest fish. A fresh cod should be free of any unpleasant fishy smell, and it is firm to the touch. Besides that, while you’re looking at the whole fish, its eyes should have a clear and bright appearance, and its gills should have a bright red color.
On the other hand, if you are going to be opting for cod fillets, it might be a little harder to tell if the fish is fresh or not, but it is best to remember that you should look for unblemished white flesh that is firm to the touch.
We must admit, cod has an appearance that only a mother could love. However, its white and firm flesh gives a succulent and delicious taste when cooked. It has a subtle flavor, and its meat is slightly leaner compared to the salmon.
Just like any other fish, cod should be handled and cooked correctly and with care. If it’s your first time to cook cod, do not be afraid of undercooking it. All you have to do is be a bit patient and hold your nerve so that you would be rewarded with a cod that has a flaky white flesh and pleasant oily texture.
Cod fillet might be delicate to the touch but do not worry because it holds firm during cooking. One of the most popular cod dishes in Britain is battered cod. However, it can also be roasted, pan-fried, roasted, confited, or cooked en papillote.
If you are planning to cook the fillet on the grill, we suggest that you put the skin-side down first. Do not forget that it breaks up a little bit easier; that is why to be mindful and slowly flip it over when one side is cooked.
The cod’s subtle flavor and its flaky and firm texture make it an intensely versatile fish. As we mentioned, one of the traditional ways of serving cod is in the batter along with mushy peas and chips. Aside from that, the cod is also the perfect choice when it comes to making a fish pie or stew-like the bouillabaisse, because it tends to hold its shape even when it’s cooked. Aside from that, the cod also complements creamy sauces perfectly.
Because of the cod’s exquisite sweet taste, it also pairs perfectly with other salty meat such as morcilla, pork belly, chorizo, and pancetta. Aside from this, a cod can also be served along with an Asian-style broth or be marinated in soy sauce.
Traditionally, cod is served with buttery sauces, just like Galton Blackiston’s recipe for Roast cod. He served it with lemon beurre blanc along with winter ratatouille. While Mark Jordan’s recipe called for a fillet of Cod served with poached hen’s egg, chive butter sauce, and crushed Jersey Royals.
Aside from these sauces, cod also stands up well to other strong spices and flavors of Indian cooking. One good example is Vineet Bhatia’s Amritsari cod recipe, which has green pea chutney and garlic. Tony Fleming also has his own version where he spiced the cod with curried cauliflower along with mango for a touch of inspiration.