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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: Serve ultra-crispy baked panko cod with caper aioli

Baked Panko Cod with Caper Aioli.Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Baked cod topped with buttery crumbs is a New England tradition for a reason. It's so good! The fish can be topped with Ritz cracker crumbs or any dry breadcrumbs -- updated recipes aren't necessarily better -- but ultra-crispy panko breadcrumbs are worth trying. Trade traditional tartar sauce for caper aioli by punching up commercial mayonnaise with capers, a bit of their bottled brine, garlic, dill, lemon, hot sauce, and anchovy. Add a chopped, hard-cooked egg to give the sauce body. While cod is the most popular choice, any firm-fleshed white fish (hake, haddock, pollock), can be used, which makes the dish quite versatile. Toss the panko with melted butter, garlic, thyme, lemon, and parsley. Brush Dijon mustard on the fish fillets for a strong flavor base that will help the crumbs stick to the top. A hot oven means the fish cooks quickly, without drying out, and the panko browns and crisps nicely. Cook the fish in the top third of the oven to ensure sufficient browning. Virtually everything pairs well with this updated standby: boiled or baked potatoes, spinach, asparagus, green beans, or rice. Choose a simple side and dinner is ready in minutes.

AIOLI

1 egg
¼cup mayonnaise
2tablespoons chopped capers
1teaspoon caper brine from the jar
1clove garlic, grated
1tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
Black pepper, to taste
Dash of hot sauce
1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped

1. In a small saucepan, combine the egg and cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Transfer the egg to a bowl of cold water and let the cold tap run into it until the egg is cold. Drain and peel the egg. Dry with a paper towel. Chop the egg coarsely.

2. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, capers, caper brine, garlic, dill, lemon rind and juice, pepper, hot sauce, anchovy, and egg. Stir well. Refrigerate until needed.

COD

1tablespoon olive oil
2pounds skinless, boneless cod, cut into 4 even-sized pieces
3tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
4tablespoons butter
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1cup panko or other unseasoned dry white breadcrumbs
½cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil.

2. Place the cod on the baking sheet, skinned side down. With the back of a small spoon, spread the mustard on the top side of the cod. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the thyme. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until aromatic. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon rind, panko or breadcrumbs, and parsley.

4. Gently spread the breadcrumbs on top of the cod, pressing lightly so they adhere to the mustard.

5. Transfer the fish to the top third of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve with caper aioli.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Baked cod topped with buttery crumbs is a New England tradition for a reason. It's so good! The fish can be topped with Ritz cracker crumbs or any dry breadcrumbs -- updated recipes aren't necessarily better -- but ultra-crispy panko breadcrumbs are worth trying. Trade traditional tartar sauce for caper aioli by punching up commercial mayonnaise with capers, a bit of their bottled brine, garlic, dill, lemon, hot sauce, and anchovy. Add a chopped, hard-cooked egg to give the sauce body. While cod is the most popular choice, any firm-fleshed white fish (hake, haddock, pollock), can be used, which makes the dish quite versatile. Toss the panko with melted butter, garlic, thyme, lemon, and parsley. Brush Dijon mustard on the fish fillets for a strong flavor base that will help the crumbs stick to the top. A hot oven means the fish cooks quickly, without drying out, and the panko browns and crisps nicely. Cook the fish in the top third of the oven to ensure sufficient browning. Virtually everything pairs well with this updated standby: boiled or baked potatoes, spinach, asparagus, green beans, or rice. Choose a simple side and dinner is ready in minutes.

AIOLI

1 egg
¼cup mayonnaise
2tablespoons chopped capers
1teaspoon caper brine from the jar
1clove garlic, grated
1tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
Black pepper, to taste
Dash of hot sauce
1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped

1. In a small saucepan, combine the egg and cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Transfer the egg to a bowl of cold water and let the cold tap run into it until the egg is cold. Drain and peel the egg. Dry with a paper towel. Chop the egg coarsely.

2. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, capers, caper brine, garlic, dill, lemon rind and juice, pepper, hot sauce, anchovy, and egg. Stir well. Refrigerate until needed.

COD

1tablespoon olive oil
2pounds skinless, boneless cod, cut into 4 even-sized pieces
3tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
4tablespoons butter
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1cup panko or other unseasoned dry white breadcrumbs
½cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil.

2. Place the cod on the baking sheet, skinned side down. With the back of a small spoon, spread the mustard on the top side of the cod. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the thyme. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until aromatic. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon rind, panko or breadcrumbs, and parsley.

4. Gently spread the breadcrumbs on top of the cod, pressing lightly so they adhere to the mustard.

5. Transfer the fish to the top third of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve with caper aioli.Karoline Boehm Goodnick