Crispy Cod Piccata
When you hear the term “fried fish,” do you immediately picture vats of canola oil and images of Long John Silvers?
I used to assume that “grilled” or “baked” was the only healthy way to enjoy fish and that anything “fried” was off-limits.
But fried doesn’t have to mean deep-fried, and with the option of using nutritious fats and breading ingredients, you can absolutely enjoy “fried fish” without the unhealthy components the dish usually requires.
My biochemistry and food science classes have opened my eyes recently to many properties that affect cooking.
For one, you can totally use extra virgin olive oil to “fry” something — you just have to keep it under the “smoke point,” aka the temperature at which it decomposes and produces potentially toxic compounds.
The reason many cooks use canola oil is because its smoke point is higher than EVOO: 400 to 375 respectively.
That’s not a big difference though. To cook with EVOO safely, just don’t crank the burner all the way up. Keep it around medium and watch for burning or smoke. Simple.
The second thing I learned is what I stated before — frying doesn’t have to mean massive amounts of oil. You can fry food using appropriate portions of oil.
This Crispy Cod Piccata requires only 1 T. of extra virgin olive oil to fry the fillets, and is breaded with whole-wheat flour and spices instead of all-purpose flour or bread crumbs.
I adapted the recipe from a dish I made in my food science class recently.
I’m in dire need of easy, healthy weeknight meals right now and this delicate, zesty Cod with its enticing Piccata crunch was just the thing to liven up my weekly rotation.
I made the dish with whole-wheat pasta for my honey, and zucchini noodles, aka “zoodles,” for myself.
It was the perfect thing to get me out of my boring old baked chicken rut.
- 2 Fresh Cod Fillets (10-12 oz)
- ⅛ C. Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 T. Paprika
- 2 tsp. Salt
- 2 tsp. Pepper
- 1 T. + 2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 C. Whole Wheat Pasta (cooked) or Zucchini Noodles
- 2 T. Capers
- 2 Lemons
- Fresh Parsley for garnish
- Wash cod fillets, then brush with about 1 tsp. each of extra virgin olive oil
- Combine flour, paprika, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Dredge cod fillets in mixture.
- Heat 1 T. extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add cod fillets and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through.
- Remove fillets from pan.
- Add noodles, the juice from the two lemons, capers and additional salt and pepper to the fish pan. Stir, scraping any bits from the fish off the bottom. Cook until warmed, or for zucchini noodles, until soft - approximately 3 minutes.
- Serve fillets over pasta and garish with lemon slices, additional paprika and parsley.
*If you’re gluten-free, go the green route with the zoodles, and bread the cod in almond flour instead.