On the fence about fish? Try cod! This versatile, delicate white fish has a mild flavor and a wild history. I simply love it; it’s my all-time favorite for making fish sticks, fish tacos and chowder like this Cod Chowder. Before Europeans ever set foot on the North American continent, Native Americans fished the vast shores catching cod. It was an important part of their diet. While it’s not likely they were fortunate enough to have tasted Crispy Skillet-Baked Cod, they surely had their own fabulous recipes, perhaps something like Baked Cod with Summer Vegetables. Interestingly, it was cod that first attracted Europeans to the North American coast.
The famous town of Cape Cod got its name from an explorer named Bartholomew Gosnold back in 1602. He caught massive amounts of cod and even noted in writing the plentiful “codfyshes” which “pestered” his ship. If he could have tasted this Baked Breaded Cod, he might have appreciated all that pestering.Soon after the adventures of Gosnold, the pilgrims of the early 1600’s studied John Smith’s map of New England. Naturally they were interested and curious about the area called “Cape Cod.” They wanted to make fishing a big business but knew very little about it, (just like they knew very little about Cod Poached in Tomato Tarragon Sauce) until the local native people helped out by teaching them how to catch the cod and use the remains to fertilize their land.
Here are some delicious ideas for serving cod:
- Add to soups, stews, curries and chowders. Try this Italian Chowder with Cod and Kale or go all-out New Orleans style with this Creole Fish Stew.
- Make fish sticks: Cut cod into “fingers”, dip in olive oil or melted butter, roll in seasoned panko bread crumbs and bake in a moderate oven until done.
- Make tacos with cod, grated veggies, salsa and guacamole.
- Bake filets in parchment with tomatoes, onions and aromatic herbs, or make this amazing Carrot and Horseradish Roasted Cod with Red Potatoes and Lemon.
- Try Cod with Chickpeas and Summer Vegetables. If chickpeas rub you wrong, any white bean such as navy or cannellini will do fine.
- Bake and flake over a leafy green salad; toss with light vinaigrette and serve with hot crusty bread.
Cod could very well be the most important fish in history! Did you know there’s a book about it? It’s called Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. The description reads: “Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been spurred by it, national diets have been based on it, economies and livelihoods have depended on it, and the settlement of North America was driven by it…” Wow! Who would have thought?
Are you crazy for cod? Got a recipe? Let me know.