I used to cook fish all of the time. I knew the fish monger by name, and we had an understanding — he let me smell the fish before I bought it, he always told me which variety was the freshest, and I in turn would tell him great ways to cook the different types of seafood. Then I moved. Ugh. Now I don’t make my beloved fish recipes as much anymore because I haven’t developed a relationship like that yet. When I do buy fish, I make it as simple as possible (because sometimes the more complex recipes make my apartment smell like fish a tad too much…) and I’m finding that sometimes I end up loving these new simple recipe creations as much as I used to love my old recipes. This recipe for Baked Lemon Cod is really simple and it’s a winner!
You would think since I now live in the heart of New York City, that I’d be able to find awesome fish… well, not so much… The prices are ridiculously high and the quality is ridiculously low. But, I finally found a place that will let me smell the fish. If you’ve never taken this approach before, I urge you to try it. And no, you don’t look like a crazy person in the store; you look like a chef. If the fish smells fishy, it’s not fresh. If you are looking at a whole fish, look at the eyes — if they are cloudy, it’s not fresh.
There’s nothing worse that getting home from the market, getting all of your ingredients ready, cooking your fish, and then, when you take that first bite… it’s… well, fishy… or slimy… or just old tasting. Funny, I never had this problem when I lived in the suburbs, but life’s full of new experiences and this is a new one for me. So, I will continue to smell and inspect the fish!
Anyway, let me get back on track. This Baked Lemon Cod is delicious. And, it’s simple. There’s no sautéing involved. There’s no flipping of delicate fish. There’s no complicated sauce. But it is truly delicious. I plan on going back to some of my old more involved fish recipes now that I feel like I can, but I will definitely be keeping this simple baked lemon cod in the rotation.
This would be a good recipe to cook for a crowd because all you need is a big sheet pan. Awesome!
So, if you are looking for a simple fish recipe, try this one. If you love it as much as I do you can add it to your weekly menu too.
And, if you want another simple fish recipe, try my Lemon Pesto Fish Fillets.
Here are some of the healing ingredients in this Baked Lemon Cod recipe:
Fish is great to eat if you feel like you need more energy. It’s also helps with diarrhea and hemorrhoids. I used cod for this recipe, but any firm fleshed sturdy white fish would work great. Cod, like many fish varieties, is good for the cardiovascular system; it helps protect against heart attacks and strokes and helps regulate blood pressure.
Lemon peels contain calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. Lemons are great for quenching your thirst, and, in China, many years ago, hypertension was treated by drinking tea made from lemon peels. This recipe uses zested lemon peel and lemon juice.
Oregano is a powerful antioxidant and it is great at fighting bacteria. It’s also known as an herb that brings joy and happiness to people. I even use oregano essential oil and I put a drop in our smoothies or water when anyone has a cold… it works great (but be really careful and read all instructions with your oregano oil — if used improperly, it can burn you!)
Tapioca is a starch that comes from the cassava plant. It’s not really a flour in the traditional sense; it’s grain and gluten free. It’s good for your circulation and your digestion. Oftentimes I will make recipes (like this one) with tapioca flour — it works as a great substitute in a lot of recipes that would otherwise include flour or another thickener.
- 1-1/3 lb cod fillet, cut into 4 pieces
- sea salt and black pepper, to season fish
- 2 Tbs organic, grass-fed butter, melted, plus more as needed
- Juice of 3 lemons, plus more as needed
- 5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 minced garlic clove
- ⅓ cup tapioca flour
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- 20 grinds black pepper
- ¼ tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 tsp fresh oregano, minced, or ¼ tsp dried
- zest of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper.
- Combine the butter, oil, garlic, and lemon juice in a shallow dish.
- Combine the tapioca flour, ½ tsp salt, and rest of spices/herbs in another shallow dish.
- Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, coating evenly on all sides, then the lemon juice mixture, and then the flour mixture again.
- Lay the fish out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, making sure the fillets are not touching each other.
- Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
- Heat the remaining lemon juice mixture in a small pot over low heat and let it simmer for a few minutes, until hot. NOTE: if you find you need more liquid for sauce, squeeze more lemon juice into the pan and add a little more butter and/or olive oil.
- Remove the fish from the oven, drizzle a little lemon sauce on top and sprinkle with lemon zest.