By Keri White
In the midst of the current crisis, many of us have had difficulty getting our normal supply of fresh groceries.
Many people, myself included until recently, only cooked fresh fish from the market and avoided frozen.
I learned a valuable lesson last week about the joys of freezing fish. I bought a large piece of fresh cod from the market, but the way our meals mapped out, I knew I was not going to cook it right away. I ended up cutting it into two portions in advance of two subsequent meals, sealing it in a zipper bag, pushing all the air out, and freezing it.
I then defrosted each portion in the refrigerator overnight in advance of the meal and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the cod maintained its flavor and texture.
The first meal was inspired by The Philadelphia Inquirer column, “My Daughter’s Kitchen,” which features simple recipes taught to School District of Philadelphia students by volunteers.
The recipe used panko, lemon zest, and parsley, which sounded wonderful to me, but met with rebellion from my co-quarantinees. Daughter dislikes parsley, husband is meh on lemon. To accommodate their preferences, I tweaked the recipe, using lime and cilantro, and the results were terrific. Full disclosure: I am confident that the original recipe is delicious, and I look forward to making it when serving it to less-particular diners.
Panko-Lime Crusted Cod
4 cod fillets
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper
1 cup panko
Zest of one lime
½ cup chopped cilantro
1½ tablespoons butter, melted
Heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking dish with parchment.
Place the cod on the parchment, spritz it with lime juice, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix the panko, zest, cilantro, lime, and butter.
Spoon the panko mixture onto each fillet and gently press to make sure it stays put.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. The topping should be brown and crisped, and the fish should flake easily and be opaque throughout.
Cod Fish Tacos
These were the product of a few ingredients lying around in need of some use. I always make a concerted effort to avoid waste, but in these difficult times, I am even stricter about it.
I had ¼ head of cabbage to use, ½ bunch of cilantro, a lime, and a bit of plain yogurt that needed to be used. I also had one cod fillet and some soft flour tortillas.
Fish tacos suggested themselves, and came out quite well.
I decided to go with a spice blend called Devil Dust, but any red pepper-based spice blend, fajita seasoning, or even Lawry’s seasoned salt would work.
Warm tortillas, to serve
Make the slaw: Mix all the ingredients and set aside.
Make the fish: Toss it in a shallow bowl with the lime juice and spice blend so that strips are coated.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high and add the fish. Saute until done, turning frequently, for about six minutes total.
Serve the fish with the warm tortillas and slaw.
Keri White is a food writer in Philadelphia. This originally appeared in the Jewish Exponent.