PAN-FRIED COD / BAKED POTATO WEDGES

This dish was inspired out of the pursuit of a healthier alternative to the deep-fried fish and chips. This version uses a pan-fried and oven approach, which slightly improves the dish from a health standpoint. We got a really nice fillet of cod from the local fishery today, and this recipe really helped to showcase the freshness of the fish and accentuate its flavor profile. This recipe makes a total of 8 pieces of cod and a side of potato wedges, enough to share between four people.

Ingredients
Fish:
~ 2 cups panko bread crumbs
~ 1 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1 tbsp garlic powder
~ 3 tsp seasoning salt
~ 1 tbsp ground black pepper
~ 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
~ 8 cod fillets (~4 oz. each)
~ 2 eggs

Potato Wedges:
~ 4 large baking potatoes
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
~ 2 tsp seasoning salt
~ 2 tsp garlic powder
~ 1 tsp chili powder
~ 2 tsp onion powder
~ Salt
~ Pepper
~ Basil

Process
With a two-component dish like this, you can break it up into three separate stages: prepping the spices, making the potatoes, and then making the cod. I’ll divide up my explanation of how to make the dish into those three stages as well. The main reason why I broke it up was to get both the potatoes and the cod to be ready to plate concurrently, so the plate can be served hot. The actual cooking of the cod on the stove will begin approximately 30 minutes after the potatoes go into the oven.

Prepping the Spices –
To start off, get out a small bowl and a medium bowl.  In the small bowl, to be used for the potatoes’ spices, combine the seasoning salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and onion powder. Once mixed together, put that aside. Take the medium bowl, to be used for the cod’s spices, and combine the bread crumbs, flour, garlic powder, seasoning salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Making the Potatoes –
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, take out the potatoes and give them a nice rinse under some water. To get them into wedges, cut them first straight down the middle. Then, with the flat side down, cut the half into quarter-inch wedges and put them all into a large mixing bowl. Once all the potatoes have been cut, pour the oil onto them and mix them up so that all of the wedges get a nice coating of oil on them. Then, slowly sprinkle the spice mixture while still mixing the potatoes in the bowl to get a nice even distribution over all of the wedges. Once the spices have been mixed together, add in the salt, pepper, and basil. I didn’t really measure it out, just kind of gave it maybe three or four shakes for the salt/pepper, and then maybe five shakes of the basil. Spread all of the potatoes out onto an oven baking tray (I needed a large one and a small one to hold all of the potatoes I had) and make sure that all of the wedges are touching the pan, or otherwise they might not crisp up. Throw those into the oven and set a timer to ring after 20 minutes, when the potatoes need to be flipped over.

Making the Cod –
Take out a 9″ x 13″ baking pan (or some other large pan with a lot of surface area to work with) and pour all of the dry mixture from before into it. Crack two eggs, beat them in another bowl, and put those aside. Take your cod fillets and divide it up into even chunks. Take each piece, dip it into the egg mixture, and then put it into the baking pan with the dry mixture. I chose to use a large spoon to cover the entire piece of cod with the coating, and then turn it over in pan to cover the other side. Place all of the finished pieces onto another dish.

Like I mentioned above, the actual cooking of the cod will begin about 30 minutes after the potatoes go into the oven. My dad took over for the actual stovetop cooking part and gave me some great tips on pan-frying techniques. For the eight pieces of cod, we used two large skillets. With the heat on high, put a thin layer of oil in the skillets. Heat up the oil until you start to see it waves in the oil when you tilt the pan around; you want to make sure that the oil doesn’t start to smoke, or otherwise it’s gotten way too hot. Once the oil is to temperature, reduce the heat down to medium-high. Place each piece of cod in one at a time while moving the oil around just a bit to ensure each piece of fish has some underneath for the frying. The trick of it is to get a nice golden-brown color on the bottom of the fish while cooking it through at the same time. We are looking to achieve a total fish cook time of about 10 minutes, so you might need to adjust the heat ranging from medium-high to medium to ensure that the coating doesn’t burn. So, after about five minutes, flip each piece of fish over to begin browning the other side; you might need to add some more oil to aid the frying process. When both sides of the fish are fried, then transfer the pieces over to an oven sheet. By now, the fries should be done so you can swap out the fries with the fish into the oven (retain the same temperature of 400 degrees) and keep them in there for about 4 minutes. Then, broil the fish on the middle rack for two minutes on high to crisp things up.

Once that’s done, serve on a large plate and you’ve got a great, healthier option of fish and chips. The fish is nice and tender, while the coating gives it a great flavor and a bit of kick with the cayenne pepper. The fries are nicely spiced and a bit crispy, just how I was looking to make them. Overall, I think that the both of them turned out great, and I’m sure that your hard work on the dish would pay off too.

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