Cod have been an important economic food since the Viking period (around 800 AD). They have a lean, mild flavor profile with a dense, flaky, white flesh and a tender-firm texture. And they are not fishy tasting at all, making them appealing to folks who are not necessarily fond of fish. You can manipulate the flavor profile by whatever ingredients you are cooking with—a big plus for the variety of personal preferences.
The two most common species of cod are the Atlantic cod, which lives in the colder waters and deeper sea regions throughout the North Atlantic, and the Pacific cod, found in both eastern and western regions of the northern Pacific. Luckily, cod is available throughout the year and is a wonderful substitute for meat protein with its versatility making it easily adaptable to all methods of cooking.
Studies show that people who eat fish regularly have a much lower risk of heart disease and heart attack than people who don’t consume fish. For numerous reasons, we try to have fish a minimum of at least one night per week. This quick Roasted Cod with Lemon-Parsley Crumbs by one of our favorite chef/authors Molly Stevens, immediately piqued our interest due to the short ingredients list and quick turnaround time.
Besides being an excellent low-calorie source of protein, cod contains a variety of very important nutrients and has also been shown to be useful in a number of different health conditions—as little as a weekly serving of fish lowers risk of ischemic stroke, for instance. And not for nothing, fish consumption is also correlated with a reduced incidence of colon cancer.
For an additional wholesome boost, we paired our cod with some sautéed baby spinach, another powerhouse in the health benefits department, and a quick cooker to boot. Recent studies continue to underscore the amazing versatility of spinach. This leafy vegetable is rich in water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and a wide variety of phytonutrients. So if you’re craving a healthy meal, this one is a good bet!
NOTE: If you have some fillets with the tapered narrow end, tuck under as shown in the photo below, so that it won’t dry out.
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Six 1- to 1-1/2-inch-thick cod fillets (about 6 oz. each)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the panko, butter, parsley, and lemon zest. Add a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Arrange the cod fillets on the baking sheet and season both sides with salt and pepper. Divide the panko topping among the fillets, pressing lightly so it adheres.
- Roast until the breadcrumbs are browned and the fish is mostly opaque (just cooked through), with a trace of translucence in the center (cut into a piece to check), 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve immediately.
We paired our cod with a side of sautéed baby spinach in a seasoning of shallots and dry mustard.
By Molly Stevens