crusted cod with yogurt-based tartar sauce

by Chen

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Impressive yet simple enough for weekday dinners.

Cod is known for its extremely delicate flesh. If being cooked appropriately, the fish should be flaky with a very moist interior. Since it is easily broken during cooking, methods with minimum flipping or turning are adopted; for instance, steaming or baking.

This is a recipe for baked cod topped with a mixture of coarse bread crumbs and dried herbs, which yields crunchiness and another layer of flavor. The dish is brightened up by the yogurt-based tartar sauce–sweet and tangy at the same time and rich but not overwhelming.

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crusted cod with yogurt-based tartar sauce
Makes 4 servings

For the fish:
4 cod fillets, 4-6 oz each
1/2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

For the topping:
1 thick slice bread of your choice, stale or lightly toasted
1 tsp herbes de provence or dried herbs of your choice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

tartar sauce for serving (recipe follows)

Tear the bread into small pieces. Using a food processor to coarsely grind the bread pieces, herb, salt, and pepper together. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Pat the fillets dry with paper towel. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is lightly browned, place the fish in the skillet without overlapping, skin/flat side down. Cook until the fish is half way cooked (you can tell this if the side is half way opaque). Sprinkle the flesh side with bread crumb mixture and gently press to adhere. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the fish is cooked through and the topping is browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Do NOT overcook the cod. Serve warm with tartar sauce.

yogurt-based tartar sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 cups whole milk plain yogurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise
3 baby pickles
1 tbsp pickle brine
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

Strain the yogurt overnight using this technique. When the yogurt is ready, combine all the ingredients except salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste before adding salt and pepper, then give the mixture one more pulse. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

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