One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish … Say! what a lot of fish there are! Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for reminding us of all the fish and the fun things. I read this book to our Little Man the other day and we were both giggling the whole way through! Do yourself a favor and read it for a smile. Or more.
And yes, there are lots of fish you could use for this recipe. I recommend a white fish and one that won’t break the bank too much is cod. I like wild Ling Cod, but Pacific Cod is fine, too. In fact, just as I stepped to the counter to order, the fishmonger was putting a fresh tray of Pacific Cod out and said, “This is as fresh as it gets … it just arrived!” It’s less expensive than Ling so I jumped on it.
The bones in cod seem to be big, strong, and tough to remove, but try to get as many out as possible before cooking just to be kind to the people around your table. You’ll invariably miss some, but at least you’ll have tried. After you’ve cut your fish into serving pieces, marinate it in lime juice and olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Fish doesn’t need much time to marinate before it starts breaking down so the time it takes to start the sauce is just enough.
The sauce is onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, lime zest, lime juice, and white wine, cooked down for a short time … just long enough to cook the fish actually.You could simply poach or bake the fish, but I immensely enjoy the cornmeal crust. Be sure to buy cornmeal from an organic, GMO-free source. A trusted national brand is Bob’s Red Mill, in case you wonder. (The link is for their specific gluten-free product. A couple of things about that … corn is inherently gluten-free so corn meal, therefore, is as well. It is specified as gluten-free because it is milled, processed, and packaged on equipment that no gluten product has been processed on. If you have celiac’s or a wheat allergy, be sure to look for this.)After coating the fish, you put it in the skillet with a little oil to brown and get the fish flaky. Spoon the tomato white wine sauce into a soup place and lay the fish on top. This is a perfect dinner for me along with a salad, but it would be delicious with some rice and sautéed green beans, too.
Cornmeal Crusted Cod with Tomato White Wine Sauce
- 1 ½ Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 4 filets of cod (substitute any white fish you prefer)
- Corn meal (enough to coat all 4 filets – I usually start with ¾ cup and add more if needed)
- Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder for seasoning
FOR THE TOMATO-WHITE WINE SAUCE
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half.
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced small (depending on the flavor you like, the size of the peppers, etc … use the seeds if you want more spice)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1Tablespoon butter
- ⅓- ½ cup fresh cilantro
Pat the fish dry and take out as many bones as possible. Mix the olive oil and lime juice on a large platter. Lay the fish filets in the mixture and turn to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Let marinate while you prepare the Tomato White Wine Sauce.
Heat a skillet to medium-high. Add a splash of olive oil, then add the onion and let it cook about ten minutes till it softens and becomes translucent, not brown. Add the garlic and jalapeno peppers and cook for about two minutes. Add the tomatoes and the lime zest. Allow it to cook down to where the tomatoes are bright red and the juices reduced. Add the white wine and lime juice, and lower the heat, letting it continue to reduce while the fish cooks.
Heat another large skillet over medium high heat. Add a thin layer of olive oil. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto a large platter and season with salt and pepper. Remove the fish from the marinade and lay each filet into the seasoned cornmeal one at a time. Coat each filet fully just before laying it into the skillet. If you need to cook in batches, keep the cooked filets in a 200°F oven while you finish the rest.
Once the Tomato White Wine Sauce is reduced, add a tablespoon of butter to the sauce to bring it all together and enhance the flavors. Toss the cilantro into the sauce just before serving.
Serve by spooning the Tomato-White Wine Sauce onto a plate and topping it with a fish filet. This is delicious served with buttered rice or orzo and sautéed beans or fresh peas or simply with a green salad.