One of my favorite fish to cook is cod, probably because it is usually the most reasonably priced and it is such a mild fish you can basically flavor it any way you like (also my fiancé isn’t a big fish person, but will eat cod). But cod also has a very important history in the New England area because the best fisheries for it are just off shore (Cape Cod anyone?). So I again dug into my Mystic Seafood cookbook to see what delight I might find – and selected the Roast Cod with Potato-Horseradish Crust. A quick and easy recipe, that if you like fish, will be sure to be added to your repertoire.
I really do enjoy cookbooks that give you more than just how to make the dish – they round out your foodie experience with some details. Here are some historical facts about cod (but not salt cod, which is in a later section!):
- Newfoundland, Canada was the first fishing ground off of North America until New England took prominence.
- Cod can easily be salted and dried and can therefore last a long time. It was often taken on long voyages, while inferior quality salted fish were sold to the Caribbean plantations to be fed to slaves there.
- All along the coast of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine fishing towns sprung up and became very busy ports (of which Mystic, CT was one).
I also liked this quote about the importance of cod:
“When Captain John Smith and others first explored New England waters, they didn’t find gold or spices, but they did find an abundance of fish – a commodity that would make many fortunes in the centuries to come” (Mystic Seafood, pg. 101).
For more on the history of cod, you should check out Cod by Mark Kurlansky – it is on my TBR list.
Roast Cod with Potato-Horseradish Crust
Makes 4 Servings
2 medium baking potatoes, grated
1 shallot, finely minced
1 egg white, beaten
2 Tablespoons horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ lbs. cod fillets, divided into 4 portions
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1) Preheat oven to 425°F.
2) In a clean dish towel, squeeze any excess liquid from the grated potatoes. In a small bowl, combine potatoes, shallot, egg white, and horseradish and mix well.
3) Salt and pepper the cod to taste. Spread the mayonnaise on the cod fillets and top with the potato mixture.
4) Heat the oil in a frying pan and carefully place the cod fillets, potato side down, into the pan. Fry until the potatoes are golden.
5) Place the fish potato side up in a baking dish, and bake 10-12 minutes or until the fish is opaque and flaky.
This was such a tasty and different way to cook fish. You can certainly add a little bit of additional spices if you want to boost the flavor, it won’t interfere with the potato crust. I would recommend some Old Bay for an easy flavor enhancement. The potatoes came out crispy and the fish was perfectly done. Be extra careful with placing and removing the fish from the pan so that you do not lose the potato crust. This can easily be pared down to serve 2; the hardest part is the egg white. Pair it with a light salad or some grilled vegetables and you have a meal! Would certainly make it again!
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Any post remotely related to cooking can participate.
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