flaky codfish

Pan-Fried Codfish

One of my favorite childhood memories is getting up at dawn and going to the renowned Fulton Fish Market with my mother to buy fish, fresh off the boats. We lived nearby so we would walk down the quiet, empty cobblestone streets near the market until we reached the bustle of fishmongers and shoppers.  Mom would usually buy fresh shrimp, crabs, whiting and porgies. Now, years later, I still love the clean, ocean-y smell of a well-maintained fish market.  Unfortunately for me, I developed an allergy to shrimp about 10 years ago.  I was heartbroken but the good news is that it led me to expand my choices, trying different kinds of fish I’d never considered when I was young. Fresh codfish is one that I discovered recently and I’ve fallen in love with its light and flaky texture, similar to flounder or whiting.

3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup flour
1 pound boneless, skinless codfish (about 2 pieces)
kosher salt
ground black pepper

medium (10-inch) skillet
measuring cups
breading tray, or platter
fish spatula
cooling rack, with paper towels beneath

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Place flour in breading tray.
2. Season fish with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess.
3. Carefully add fish to hot oil. Fry until edges are golden brown — about 4 minutes.
4. Slide spatula under fish and flip. Fry until edges are golden brown — about 4 minutes.
5. Transfer to cooling rack to drain any excess oil off before serving.

• Fresh fish should smell like the ocean or have no smell at all. If it smells sour or ‘fishy’, ditch it.
• Oil should be heated to at least 350 – 375 degrees for frying. If the oil is not hot enough, the fish may fall apart in the pan when you try to flip it, and it will taste greasy. If you have no thermometer, sprinkle a little flour into the oil. It should sizzle and brown immediately.

20 minutes

2 servings

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