Panko Crusted Cod with Lemon Caper Sauce

Don’t ask me how or why, but I’ve somehow ended up living in a pool-house like Ryan from the OC. Only without the harassing water polo players (at least so far).  Allow me to explain. The boy-friend-turned-fiancé, or “the F word” as I like to call him, was asked to coach a team down in Florida for 2½ months. And for some reason I was invited to come along (“bring your unemployed ball-and-chain” I believe the letter read). So here I am, sitting poolside with my laptop and my pale, borderline translucent skin.

I’m sure I’ll rejoin the real world at some point, or literally join The Real World for lack of another option. But for now, I’m more than happy to plan my giant Martha-Stewart-Empire in my bathing suit. By the way, I feel like it’s ok to brag about this pool house development because I’m unemployed and my savings account is like a slow-motion train wreck. It’s like David Hasselhoff bragging about his career.

So, I decided to kick off my Floridian escapade with of my favorites. I’m actually shocked I haven’t posted this standby before. It’s super fast and easy and totally delicious. To start, combine the lemon slices, lemon juice, garlic, capers and brine in a small bowl. Measure out the white wine in a separate bowl and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 250⁰. Take out your fish and season the fillets with Kosher salt and pepper. I had two center-cut fillets which were thick, and two tail-end fillets which were thin. I decided to cook the two thick ones together and the two thin ones together. Dunk them first in the flour, then the egg wash, then the panko. You want them totally coated in each step. Set the crusted fish fillets aside while you heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil on a medium to high heat.

When the oil is hot and shimmering, put in your first round of fish fillets. Depending on the thickness, they’ll cook for 4-8 minutes per side. For the thicker fillets, you might want to turn the heat down slightly so that the panko doesn’t burn while the thicker fish takes longer to cook. Flip when the panko is golden brown and crispy. They’re done when the fish feels firm to the touch, and poking inside you can see it’s white and flaking (if you like using a meat thermometer, they’ll be about 135⁰ in the middle).

Place the cooked fish on a baking sheet and pop it in the preheated oven to stay warm. Use the remaining tablespoon of oil to cook the thinner fish fillets in the same way (the thin fillets will cook much more quickly). When the second round is done, pop it in the oven with the first round to stay hot while you whip up the sauce.

Pour the wine and ½ teaspoon of Kosher salt into the same hot skillet, and turn the heat up to high. Reduce the wine by half, about 4 minutes, and add the lemon and caper mixture. Boil for another 2 minutes, then whisk in the butter and parsley off heat. Take the fish out of the oven and serve immediately, each portion getting a few heaping spoonfuls of sauce. This is great with rice pilaf.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 thin, round lemon slices
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons capers plus 1 tablespoon brine
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound cod fillets (about 3 portions)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water to make a wash
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Serves 3

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