Food of the Month: Cod

Thursday 2 January 2014 by

Cod, Fish, Food,

We all love a good old fish and chips – wrapped up in proper chipshop paper and drowning in salt and vinegar. I love to have mushy peas with mine, although there’s an argument in our house about whether mushy peas or tartare sauce is preferable.

And the best fish for fish and chips? Cod. Cod is just coming to the end of its season*. Once considered an inferior white fish, cod has risen in popularity to the point of over-fishing, and now suffers from a severely depleted population. If you, like many others, have chosen not to eat cod, simple replacements include haddock, whiting or tilapia.

This versatile dish works well with bold flavours, adding a fleshiness to spiced or peppery dishes. Try BBC Good Food’s white fish with spicy beans and chorizo, or The Food Network’s miso cod, or simply pan-fry with some light, fresh ingredients as a tasty salad topping.

We don’t often eat cod (preferring instead to use haddock), but it’s a lovely fish to see you from Summer to Winter. This fabulous 30-minute recipe from Jamie Oliver is a homemade twist on fish and chips (I don’t have the tartare sauce, of course).

Tasty crusted cod with mashy peas and tartare sauce – serves six to eight

You will need:

  • Ovenproof dish
  • Food processor or blender
  • Spare bowl
  • Saucepan


Tasty crusted cod

  • 2 × 600g cod fillets, with skin
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 200g crusty white bread (use Warburtons gluten-free if you’re like me)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Half a tin of anchovies in oil
  • Half a 280g jar of sundried tomatoes in oil
  • Small bunch of basil
  • 1 chili
  • 40g parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or a small pinch of dried)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or a small pinch of dried)

Mashy peas

  • 4 medium baking potatoes
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 500g frozen peas
  • Knob of butter
  • 1-2 tbsp mint sauce

Tartare sauce

  • 3 gherkins
  • 1 tsp capers
  • Small bunch of parsley
  • Half a tin of anchovies in oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 200g mayonnaise
  • Sweet paprika

How to make it:

Pre-heat the grill to a high heat and boil some water. Chop the potatoes in to small chunks and add to a saucepan of boiled, salted water on a medium heat to soften.

Trim the florets of broccoli off and leave to one side; chop the broccoli stalk in to small chunks and add to the potatoes.

In a large ovenproof dish, add olive oil, fennel seeds, salt and pepper and then coat the cod fillets generously. Skin-side down, put the fillets under the grill on the bottom shelf of your oven, so it cooks slowly and evenly.

Breadcrumbs, Jamie Oliver, Cod, Fish, Food,

In a food processor or blender, break the bread in to chunks and add, with two cloves of garlic and some of the olive oil from the tin of anchovies. Blend until crumbs and tip in to a bowl.

Next, you need to blend half the anchovy fillets, the sundried tomatoes (with a little of their oil), the other two cloves of garlic, the chili, parmesan, basil and the zest and juice of the lemon. Add about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and then blend until you have a thick sauce.

Take the fillets and spread the tomato sauce over the top and then the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with the rosemary and thyme and put them back under the grill for around 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Check the potatoes are soft, and add the broccoli florets and frozen peas and cook for another 4 minutes. Once softened, drain and mash – this is where you add in the butter, olive oil and mint sauce! Leave it quite chunky.

For the tartare sauce, add the gherkins, capers parsley and remaining anchovies and their own to the food processor. Add the juice of half a lemon and some olive oil. Blend until smooth, then put in to a bowl with the mayonnaise. Add more lemon juice if required (all to your taste), then sprinkle in the paprika.

Jamie Oliver, Crusted cod, Mashy peas, Potato, Fish, Cod, Food

This is ideal with crisp white wine and a wedge of lemon. Delicious!

Do you love cod? Are you a fish and chips kind of person?

Check out more cod inspiration on the Pinterest board!

*The original post stated that the season was just beginning, but the Marine Conservation Society has a handy guide to the best times to buying fish, and it recommends to avoid spawning season, which begins in February for cod.

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  1. Ali

    This has been one of my go to dishes for a while now! Perfect for simple suppers and oh so delish! Thanks for reminding me about it 🙂 X

    • Fran

      You’re welcome! It’s such a nice recipe to use. I love Jamie Oliver recipes as they’re so easy, but they do use a LOT of pots and pans, and so this one is quite nice as it’s fairly constrained.

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