Cod has been a popular fish for hundreds of years. Much appreciated for its taste and structure. Its popularity unfortunately also means it has been heavily overfished. During the nineties the population dropped significantly. Thanks to various restrictions, cod is slowly on its way back to recovery, especially in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, although it is still on the red list in many countries. Sea Food Watch provides a very helpful buying guide.
When you buy cod, in most cases you buy cod fillets. But what happens to the remainder, what happens for instance to the head? You could roast it in the oven, you could use it to make stock (don’t forget to remove the skewers), in some countries dried cod heads are appreciated as a delicacy, but in reality, most fish heads seem to end up in animal food or biofuel.
Recently our fish monger surprised us by selling cod cheeks, an absolute delicacy. They are moist with a firm structure and have a delicate taste. Great to combine with parsley, capers and lemon. Or make a batter with beer, flower and egg, coat the cheeks and fry them in oil at 180 °C or 360 °F.
A medium bodied white wine will do very well in combination with the Cod Cheeks, for instance an unoaked Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc. We enjoyed a glass of Clin d’Oeil, Saumur Blanc from the Loire region in France produced by Les Vignobles Edonis. It’s a dry wine with clear acidity, fruit, green apples, some minerality and length.
What You Need
- 200 grams of Cod Cheeks
- All Purpose Flower
- Bread Crumbs
- Tartar Sauce
What You Do
Carefully remove the skin and white membranes of the cod cheeks. Separate the egg, whisk the egg yolk. Heat a pan and add butter. Dry the cod cheeks with kitchen paper, dust with flower, then dip in the egg yolk and coat with bread crumbs. Fry until golden. Add some black pepper and serve on a warm plate. A dish to share!
Make your own bread-crumbs by using old, stale but originally very tasty bread. Obviously, we use our home-made bread.
Toast the bread and let cool. Cut in smaller bits and then use a cutter or blender to make the crumbs. They keep very well in the freezer, so best to make in advance, when you have some left over bread.
Make your own tartar sauce by combining mayonnaise, pickles, lemon juice, capers, dill and Dijon mustard.