Crunchy Baked Cod with Horseradish Tartar Sauce

Friday 31 August 2012

Delicious fish for Friday here in the English Kitchen today! Having fish for supper on Friday is a long held tradition over here in the UK, especially up here in the wild and wooley North West. On most Friday nights there are long queues at fish and chip shops . . . if you don't want to have to wait a long time for your dinner . . . you have to get there early.

I remember when I came over here to meet Todd in person before we got engaged. My first Friday night here, he picked up some fish and chips for us from the local chippie. I was totally amazed at the size of the pieces of fish. He got two regular pieces of cod and one portion of chips to share . . . and there was more than enough for the two of us.

It cost £2 each, for the pieces of cod . . . and they were so large that they were hanging over the sides of our plates . . . and for 60p we got a portion of chips that was so ample we could not eat them all . . . both fish and chips liberally sprinkled with lots of salt and malt vinegar. (I now request to add my own, as it's usually far too much salt for my liking.) The cod was so sweet and moist, much nicer than I had remembered the cod being back home . . . the chips hand cut and chunky and crisp. The batter . . . crisp and melt in your mouth scrummy . . .

By the end of the meal I was so stuffed I could barely move . . . two fish and chip dinners for £4.60 . . . you'd be lucky to get away with one fish and chips dinner for that price now! But . . . then again, that was 12 years ago and a lot has changed in those 12 years!

When I was growing up, I used to be a tiny bit jealous of the catholic kids in my class at school . . . they always got fish for dinner on Fridays and I loved fish. I don't know if it was too expensive or what . . . but I know we only ever very rarely had fish. It was a real treat. Usually on Fridays we had hot dogs . . . which were quite good the way my mom did them . . . but I still would have loved to have had fish.

Today I oftimes choose to do my fish in simple ways, rather than deep fry it . . . saving the luxury of those deep fried fish calories to a once in a blue moon treat, from my favourite fish and chips place in town. This is a very simple, and yet easy way of preparing fish that gives you moist fish . . . with a deliciously flavoured crisp crust . . . without all the frying and faff.

The seasoned fish is brushed with a simple butter, olive oil and Dijon mustard mix and then has a crisp breadcrumb mixture of panko and parsley flakes pressed into the surface . . . and then you drizzle the remainder of the butter mixture over top. About 15 minutes later, you are rewarded with beautifully cooked fish with a nice crisp crust . . . not long . . . but just long enough to throw together . . .

. . . a delicious and easy homemade tartar sauce! It can be very low fat if you use low fat mayo instead of the regular kind. A bit of mash on the side and a few green vegetables and Bob's your Uncle! I don't know what's not to like about this meal, easy, quick and DELICIOUS!

*Crunchy Baked Cod with Horseradish Tartar Sauce*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Delicious baked cod with a crunchy flavourful panko crust, served up with a fantastic homemade tartar sauce!

4 (6-ounce) cod loins
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 TBS softened butter
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS Dijon mustard
a pinch of cayenne pepper
60g of japanese bread crumbs (1 cup)
1 TBS dried parsley flakes

for the tartar sauce:
1 stalk of celery, de-stringed and finely chopped
2 TBS finely chopped cornichons
1 TBS prepared horseradish
2 TBS coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
6 TBS food quality mayonnaise (I use Hellman's or French Mayonnaise)
1 tsp lemon juice
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 5. Line a baking sheet with some aluminium foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray.

Rinse your cod loins and then pat them dry with some paper kitchen towelling. Place them on the baking tray. Season with some salt and pepper to taste. Melt the butter together with the olive oil. Whisk in the Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper. Brush the top of each cod loin with this mixture. Divide the bread crumbs between each loin, pressing them onto the fish to help it to adhere. Drizzle with the remainder of the butter mixture, dividing it equally.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

While the fish is baking make your tartar sauce. Stir together the celery, cornichons, parsley, horseradish, mayonnaise, mustard powder and lemon juice. Season to taste with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with the cooked fish. Delicious!

Make sure you come back tomorrow. I have a REAL treat in store for you! You won't want to miss it!


  1. I have never heard of destringing:) Your food is perfect:)

  2. De-stringing is so easy Monique!! I just use a really sharp knife and capture the ends of the strings and gently pull. They come off easy peasy lemon squeasy . . . and then there's nothing to catch in between your teeth!

  3. We thoroughly enjoyed our fish and chip dinner tonight. There was lovely fresh cod at the fishmonger, so I bought some, just knowing you'd have a recipe to make something delicious. The nice, crunchy panko was great and allowed the flavour of the fish to come through - it did not need anything else. I made oven baked chips to go with this and a simple garden salad - perfect.

    Yes, I was one of those Catholic kids that always ate fish on Fridays. We rarely ate fish and chips from the shop, as we couldn't afford it and mostly it was fish that dad caught. If he didn't catch any that week, then it was tinned tuna or salmon done as patties or a mornay. And failing that, mum made "Mock Fish" which was basically grated potato, flour and egg batter that she fried in patties. In those days the church was very strict about no meat on Fridays or at all during Lent.

    1. You have hit upon one of my favourite ways to make Cod Marie! I haven't made it in a while. Believe it or not good Cod is hard to find here! I miss the great Cod from Iceland. So beautiful and sweet. Your dinner sounds perfect! I think I would have loved your mom's mock fish! She sounds like quite a cook! xoxo


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