Cornmeal Crusted Cod Cheeks

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Cod Cheeks.  Yep you read that right.  Cod Cheeks.  I adore Cod Cheeks.  To me they are every bit as delicious if not more so than scallops or lobster.  

Seriously. If you have never tried them, you have no idea what you are missing. 

Fish cheeks are a great delicacy.  A tiny pocket of meat, found just below the eyes,  they are tender and have a wonderful flavour.  Little nuggets of deliciousness.  

Most Chef's love them as they are boneless, skinless and have a beautiful texture which lends itself to a variety of cooking methods.

My favourite way of cooking them is to coat them in a well flavoured cornmeal crumb and then fry them in hot oil.

They take literally just a few minutes to cook and are so tender and delicious when done. 

And it is such a simple way to prepare them.  You just mix cornmeal (which is like a fine polenta) together with some simple seasonings . . .  cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt. 

Don't freak out at the amount of pepper.  Its the perfect amount. Trust me on this.

You simply roll the cod cheeks in the cornmeal mixture and then fry.  It only takes 3 to 4 minutes per side for them to be done to perfection. 

Perfectly crisp and golden brown on the outside . . .  tender and succulent on the inside.  You can't ask for much better than that. 

Bite sized and filled with flavour.  I get mine from The Fish Society.  Their Cod Cheeks are sustainably sourced from Norwegian waters.  

Fish from the Fish Society comes straight to your door, with an overnight delivery, and it is beautifully packaged.  It arrives in perfect condition ready to throw right into your own freezer.  

All of their fish is frozen shortly after catching and is of a far superior quality than that which you can buy at the shops, which in all likelihood has already been frozen once, thawed and then presented to you on ice.  I have never been disappointed in any fish I have received from them and they have a huge range to choose from.

Today I served these lovely cheeks with some chips and homemade coleslaw . . .  just like you would be served in a restaurant back home in Nova Scotia.

In the old days, when Cod was plentiful, it would not have been unusual to find Cod Cheeks the size of your fist, but sadly Cod of that size are no longer very common.  

They are coming back however, and that is a good thing.  Of all the fishes in the sea, Cod is my favourite.

I tried to get a photograph so I could show you how tender and succulent these are inside.  Kind of hard because it is so white, so I guess you will have to take my word for  it.  These bite sized babies are delicious!

Yield: 4

Cornmeal Crusted Cod Cheeks

Cod cheeks are a really delicious part of the cod that is often overlooked. Boneless, skinless and firm, they are meaty and sweet.  Coating them with a spiced cornmeal mixture gives them a crisp exterior whilst protecting all that succulence inside.


  • 450g of cod cheeks (1 pound)
  • 170g fine cornmeal (1 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 TBS finely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • oil for frying (you want to use a flavourless oil, like canola)


How to cook Cornmeal Crusted Cod Cheeks

  1. Mix the cornmeal, cayenne, pepper and salt together in a shallow bowl. Take your cod cheeks out of the refrigerator. Remove them from the packaging and roll them in the cornmeal mixture to coat, setting them aside on a plate while you finish coating them all.
  2. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot enough to brown a cube of bread (between 180/190*C or 350/375*F) add the coated cod nuggets,
  3. a few at a time. Take care not to crowd the pan, or your oil will cool down too much. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Scoop out to a baking tray lined with paper towelling to drain and keep warm in a slow oven while you cook the rest. Once done serve immediately with your favourite accompaniments. We like chips and coleslaw.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Down East Coast Coleslaw

Yield: 6
Crisp and delicious and lightly flavoured with Maple syrup. Don't knock it until you try it.


  • 1 white cabbage (about 2 lb in weight), trimmed and cored
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 spring onions
  • 200g of good quality mayonnaise (scant cup)
  • 4 TBS buttermilk
  • 2 TBS maple syrup (I used a no sugar sub)
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste


How to cook East Coast Coleslaw

  1. Using a sharp knife, shred your cabbage very fine and place into a bowl.  Grate your carrots on the large holes in a box grated and add them to the bowl with the cabbage.  Thinly slice the spring onions and the celery.  Add to the bowl as well. Whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, maple syrup, and seasoning to taste. Pour this over the vegetables in the bowl and toss all together to coat.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I called this down East Coleslaw because it is lightly sweetened with Maple Syrup.  Because I am a Diabetic I used a no sugar one, which isn't really Maple Syrup, but trust me when I tell you that it is very, very good nonetheless.  Even better with the real thing.

I really hope you want to try Cod Cheeks!  I think you will find that they are really very  wonderful, and highly underrated!  Give cheeks a chance!


  1. Hi Marie, this post is great! I never have seen or heard of "Cod Cheeks" til now! Living in Massachusetts we eat Cod frequently as fillets or loin, but cheeks are new to me, very cool! These look delicious. Thanks for another fun, informative and tasty recipe! xo Mary


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