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Pan-Seared Cod with Preserved-Lemon Aioli

Nonstick skillets are incredibly helpful when preparing lean fish like the cod fillets here, because the flesh sticks to metal so easily. To give the cod a golden crust, Melissa Rubel Jacobson dusts it with finely milled Wondra flour before cooking. The creamy preserved-lemon aioli she serves alongside the fish is also a terrific dipping sauce for roasted potatoes.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 preserved lemon, peel only, finely chopped (see Note)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Four 6-ounce skinless cod fillets
  • 1/4 cup Wondra flour


  1. In a blender, puree the mayonnaise with the preserved lemon, garlic, water, cayenne and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the aioli with salt and pepper and scrape it into a small bowl.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper and dust with the flour. Cook the fish over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden on the outside and white throughout, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the cod to plates and serve with the lemon aioli.

Make Ahead

The aioli can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.


Preserved lemons are a Moroccan ingredient made by macerating whole lemons in lemon juice and salt until very soft. The lemon pulp is often discarded and the peel is used. They're available at specialty food shops and at kalustyans.com.

Suggested Pairing

With this lemony fish dish, serve an Albariño from Spain.

Contributed By Photo © Lucy Schaeffer Published November 2008

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