Cod is an overlooked, underrated fish—give it the treatment it deserves.

By Bridget Hallinan
August 19, 2019

If you ask Colu Henry, cod is a highly underrated fish—buttery, flaky, and incredibly versatile. So in her most recent F&W Cooks video, she gives it “the elegant upgrade it deserves,” serving it with flavorful leeks cooked in white wine and chicken broth, and crunchy snap peas for the finishing touch. Although the end result looks fancy, she explains that it’s actually incredibly easy to assemble, ready in about 35 minutes and perfect for a fast weekday meal. The best part? It pairs beautifully with a Chablis. Check out some of Henry’s key tips for preparing the dish below.

Yes, you can use other fish…

Before she starts cooking, Henry says you can make this dish with halibut or sea bass instead, but “for the love of cod, why would you?” 

Clean the leeks

To prepare the leeks, Henry removes the dark green ends, and then cuts off the other ends, leaving a little bit of the roots intact. After that, she slices them lengthwise down the middle and runs them under cold water before cooking—this step is key. Leeks are grown in sandy soil, so they tend to catch grit in between their layers. Washing them helps ensure you won’t have a sandy surprise when you take the first bite. 

After they’re cleaned, Henry adds them to the chicken stock and white wine mixture on the stove over medium heat, cooking them until they’re tender.

Go with snap peas…

Henry says, generally, that you’ll notice three types of peas when you go to the farmers’ market—shelling peas (or English peas), snow peas, and then snap peas, which are sort of a hybrid between the two. This recipe calls for sugar snap peas, and you want the pods to be nice and plump. The strings running along the seam of the pods should also be dry, which signifies that they’ve just been picked.

… And remove the strings

The only prep required for the peas is to remove the strings, for textural purposes. Then, add them to the broth and warm them through—they don’t need to be fully cooked, as you still want that crunchy bite to pair with the cod and leeks.

Everything is better with butter

Henry stirs butter into the broth to thicken it and add richness, and also adds some lemon juice for brightness. Then, she takes the broth off the heat and sets it aside.

Make sure the olive oil is hot

On medium-high heat, Henry warms up olive oil in a pan—you want it to be nice and hot, so you can get crispy skin on the fish. Add the cod to the pan skin-side down, and press down on it with a spatula immediately, making sure as much of the skin is in contact with the heat as possible.

Watch for opaque fish

As the fish cooks, you’ll know it’s time to flip when the flesh starts to turn opaque—once it’s about halfway up, flip it and cook for about another minute or so. Then, plate the fish over the leeks, and spoon some broth on top.

Grab the herbs

Henry finishes the dish with flaky sea salt and a garnish of chives, parsley, and mint; however, she says any tender-leafed herb will do.

An elegant dish calls for an elegant wine

In this case, Henry opts for Chablis (such as Domaine Bersan) from the northwest part of Burgundy, which she says “plays really nicely with the meal."

Get the recipe here.

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