(Mis-) Adventures with Cod

Um... yeah. The Cod experiment didn't go so well (see previous post). It's been a while since I've made something that bad. (In fact, I remember it quite clearly. It was May, and I learned that I don't like ground chicken in lieu of beef. Blech! Had to try it once though.)

The Cod in question tasted -and looked- less like cod and more like cardboard. I figured out my issues though, so it was actually a good thing. Learning from my mistakes and all. Let me explain...

1. The recipe clearly called for cod steaks. Glancing at the picture, it looked kinda like a chicken breast, so I didn't catch the fact that it said steaks. At the store, they only had cod fillets, so I naturally assumed that was the right stuff. All of this was subconscious, by the way. Had I actually used my noggin, I could have skipped this flub-up.

2. One of the basic rules in cooking is TIMING. Start with the things that take the longest so you can time things to be done at around the same time. I thought I learned this a long time ago. I guess we all slip up though, huh? I was frying the cod before the oven was even warmed up to cook the potatoes. Duh! Potatoes take longer than a thin fillet of fish. I got a little too excited about trying my new recipe. Oops.

3. My dear husband was held up at work and came home later than expected. So when the fish was done frying, I took the pan off the heat and covered it with foil. On top of my other issues, leaving the fish in the pan allowed my already dried-out cod to keep cooking from the residual heat. That spelled D-R-Y fish! (I know better than that too!)

So, I made some rookie mistakes. Which all worked together to produce some incredibly dry fillets. Good news is that the seasoning tasted pretty good, so I'll probably try this one again. Another plus was that it was edible. Granted, it was borderline - but it didn't cross that so-bad-you-can't-even-eat-it threshold. (I'll take my small victories where I can!)

Here's the recipe, if'n ya want to give it a try. Hopefully yours will turn out much better, knowing the mistakes I made.

Cajun-Style Cod
4 cod steaks, about 6oz each
2 tbsp low fat plain yogurt
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
nonstick cooking spray (I use olive oil in a pump aerosol sprayer thingy)
lemon slices, to garnish

Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Combine the yogurt and lime or lemon juice and brush lightly over both sides of the fish. 

Stir together the crushed garlic, spices and herbs. Coat both sides of the fish with the seasoning mix, rubbing in well. 

Spray a ridged broiler pan or heavy frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Heat until very hot. Add the fish and cook over high heat for 4 minutes, or until the undersides are well browned. 

Turn the steaks over and cook for another 4 minutes or until cooked through. Serve immediately, garnished with lemon.

(from Low Fat Low Cholesterol, ed. Anne Sheasby, Barnes & Noble Books New York, 2003, p. 210.)

The recipe suggested serving with new potatoes and a green salad. My new favorite thing is sweet potatoes, cut into chunks, drizzled with either olive oil or some margarine, plus salt & lots of freshly-cracked pepper. I make a foil packet out of it and cook for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees on the middle rack. I'd suggest checking part way through to make sure nothing's being scorched. I leave it in until the potatoes are nice and soft, with maybe a little bit of crispies around the edges. (Your preference.) It's also easy to throw the foil packet on the grill outside instead of using the oven.

Do any of you have go-to fish recipes that you'd be willing to share? A SUPER easy one to make is Salmon, patted with salt and pepper and maybe a little squeeze of lemon juice, put into a foil packet, then cooked either in the oven or on the grill. Salmon is pretty tasty on its own, so it doesn't need a bunch of spices on it. I throw it in the oven until the fish is no longer transparent. (You have to check inside with a fork.) Depending on the thickness of the fillet, it can take between 10 and 30 minutes. If it's on the thinner side, start with 10 minutes and see how it looks. You can pretty much feel your way through this one. 

If you decide to give either the cod or the salmon a try, let me know how it turns out!

OK, Ciao for now! ;-)

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