Pan fried cod with mustard caper sauce served with simple salad and eggplant caponata.
Purchasing seafood for our weekly fish dinner finds me experiencing my weekly mini-anxiety issues. What will they have…will I know what it is…how much will it cost…will I be able to cook it…if it’s wild caught…how fresh is it… really, should I just buy it from the frozen section…should I just go with the dependable farmed salmon…actually, those chicken breasts in the next section look familiar and easy.
I’ve lived land-locked all my life. As soon as the pan is heated and the fish unwrapped, I cross my toes and fingers for a edible outcome. Cooking fish seems like such a fickle event for me. So fickle that I compare it to the science of baking a yeast-based bread. So with all that said, I’m blaming our altitude and humidity on every inedible piece of fish that’s hit our dinner table. HA.
I wanted a white fish this week. The fish counter found us with the option of either $12 per pound cod, $12/pound turbot, or $30/pound sea bass. The “fishmonger” tried to steer me toward the turbot. I’ve never had it…don’t know what it is. He said it had a milder flavor than cod, a “lighter fish”. I was leery.
I didn’t want to spring for that chunk of expensive Sea Bass, which was on sale at $30/pound, so chose the cod. As he pulled those thin, long skinny pieces of fish to the scale for their weigh in, I automatically pictured them overcooked and mushy. Sometimes I think it’s harder to cook a thin piece of fish than a thick one.
See how stressful this is? I probably even have you reaching for the Valium.
Thanks to a medium-high heat and my trusty cast iron skillet, I ended up with a pretty good sear on one side. It cooked in a flash with no chance for turning to brown on the other side, I rushed it to our plates and topped it with the sauce.Tender and flaky. Whew. The mustard caper sauce was quite a lively flavor paired with the cod. And we loved the super simple salad with was easily tossed with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. This is a quick meal compliments Real Simple.
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
- 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 6-ounce pieces skinless cod, halibut, or striped bass fillet
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 large head Bibb lettuce, torn (about 6 cups)
- ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
- ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, capers, tarragon (if using), 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 2 tablespoons water. (If necessary, adjust the consistency with more water until the sauce is spoonable.)
- Heat 1 teaspoon of the remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the cod with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until opaque throughout, 4 to 7 minutes per side.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the lettuce, cucumber, and onion with the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Drizzle the cod with the mustard-caper sauce and serve with the salad.
The winner of my Texas Brew Salsa Giveaway is a fellow Colorado Food blogger, Jane over at the The Healthy Beehive. Even though she lives pretty close, we’ve never met in person. Jane has more energy than I can imagine. Even with a full-time job she manages to find time to make her own “everything”. I’ve really enjoyed following her blog.
Congrats Jane, please send me your address. And thanks to everyone who entered.
Pan Fried Cod with Mustard Caper Sauce…It’s What’s for Dinner.