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Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Butter Alaskan Cod

 

Yields:  2 – 4 servings             Prep Time:  15 minutes       Total Time:  35 minutes

 

A rich tomato essence balanced out with a savory garlic butter twist, this cod is flaky and light with a decadent flavor right on top.

 

Ingredients

1 pound wild caught Alaskan cod

3 tablespoons butter, softened

4 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil

1 medium clove garlic

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon, plus extra squeeze

1 teaspoon fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley

3/4 teaspoon cane sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

2. Prepare cod, cut into 4 evenly portioned sections (or 2 if desired serving size) and place in a baking dish. 

 

3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice on the cod.

 

4. Place sun dried tomatoes, butter, garlic, lemon, basil, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper in a food processor.

 

5. Starting with a tablespoon on each cod filet, drop the sun dried tomato and butter mixture on each piece until mixture is gone.  When dividing cod into four filets, about 2 tablespoons per filet finished the mixture.

 

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until cooked through.  Let dish sit for about 5 minutes after removing from oven.

 

Growing up in the Northwest, we had fish a variety of different ways.  I remember one dish with oranges and tomatoes, or maybe it was Orange Roughy fish – either way, it was not my favorite (no offense, Mom).  But overall, my parents were no strangers to the grill, and always cooked fish in very delicious ways that could convert any non-fish lover.

 

As for me, I don’t venture into the fish world (other than salmon) very often, mostly because I always end up drying it out.  It requires more attention, and usually my attention is divided between three children and a cat.  However, I decided to attempt some Alaskan Cod.  So, what is one way to stop something from drying out?  Top it with butter!  In this case, the butter combines with some sundried tomatoes packed in oil, so I am covered (in butter and oil, that is)!  Really, though, it is not that heavy because the amount of actual topping or sauce you get for a whole filet is maybe 1 to 2 tablespoons, adding just the right amount of flavor.

 

Cod is fish that allows you to be creative.  It doesn’t have a powerful underlying flavor, like the infamous “fishy” flavor that gives fish a bad name.  However, it can also be very bland unless it is paired with some pizazz.  The flavors I used here are a twist on the tomato and basil pairing.  Sun dried tomatoes give a little more depth.  Basil, parsley and lemon juice bring a fresh aspect to the dish.

 

Another reason I am sometimes hesitant to work with fish is because of all of the safety warnings and sustainability concerns.  Heavy metal contaminants, pollution from fish farms or even certain waters of the world are safety concerns.  Additionally, some fish are simply being overfished and caught in very irresponsible ways, causing much damage to the environment and overall eco-system as a whole. 

 

Cod is one of those fish that has different recommendations depending on where it is sourced.  Cod from Alaska is on the Best Choices list from the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch site.  Here is a more comprehensive list by state of best choices, good alternative and options to altogether avoid.  If you are interest in researching sustainable seafood a little further, here is a link to the Marine Stewardship Council.

 

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