Cod is a sea fish that has a mild taste and low fat content. The fish is characterized by its white flesh which flakes easily and is thus classified as a whitefish. The fish is valued for its nutrients which are concentrated in liver. The liver is processed to obtain vitamin A and D and omega 3 fatty acids.
Introduction to Ingredient
The cod need to live in the deep, cold, arctic temperature to survive, grow and reproduce. Cod belongs to the family of Gadidae as monk fish and haddock. Cods are a popular fish of choice in American and English cuisines and are used in many preparations. Sometimes they are pre-salted and sold. Cod that are caught during spawning are called skrei. The Atlantic cod is the most popular and well known variety of cod. This fish is differentiated by its noble taste and light color. Saithe, ling, and zarbo are some of the popular type of cods consumed throughout the world.
It is not clearly known as when did it was first consumed as a food item but historical anecdotes suggest that that this fish has been active on commodity market since the Viking Period which was around 800 AD. Norwegians were the first known consumers of this fish and they carried it dried fish with them during long journeys. Soon it became a very essential commodity in the markets of southern Europe. The dried cod was an integral element of the Norwegian economy for more than 1000 years. Portuguese started farming and harvesting cods in 15th century and Basques (ethnic group, which lives in Atlantic coast between the borders of Spain and France) contributed to Cod trade in American continent much before Columbus arrived in America. The East Coast of North America was partly developed due to cod fish trade. This fish played a very significant role in the development of Massachusetts.
Famous British statesman William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham called it a “ British Gold” and criticized French for holding the fishing rights in Newfoundland.
In 17th and 18th century this fish became a very major commodity in Newfoundland and Massachussets and helped in creating strong cross cultural links and trade networks. Several wars were fought between colonial powers and American administration to reign control over the fishing rights. In 20th century, Iceland entered into the Cod war by slowly emerging as one of the largest producers of Cod fish.
These fishes are presently in danger due to over fishing. Today pacific cods are in great demand due to their ready availability.
Method of Preparation
- Baking – The cod is considered good for baking. The cod fillets are baked after rubbing it with pepper and salt at a temperature of 375 degrees. Sometimes theses fillets are marinated in the mixture of kosher salt, pepper, parsley, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice prior to baking.
- Frying – The fish can be easily fried after seasoning with pepper and salt. Cod fillets are dipped in egg batter and fried. It is served with sliced oven fried potatoes and French fries.
- Poaching – The cod can be easily poached in broth or water by adding little lemon juice, water, and parsley until its flakes become flaky and opaque.
- Braising – The cod fillets braised with olives, tomatoes, and garlic are considered healthy.
- Cod Lyonnaise – This is a seared cod fish preparation which is garnished with lyonnaise. Lyonnaise is a French dish which is prepared by frying the potato slices and onions in butter along with parsley and some other seasnonings.
- Mediterranean Cod Soup – This fish is enriched with goodness of fishes like cod, grouper, shell fish, etc. Sometimes fish fillet or broth is used in the preparation. The flavor of soup is enriched by the addition of various herbs and spices.
- Pecan Crusted Cod – This dish is generally served as a main course dish accompanied by Creole Muenier sauce. The cods are dipped in pecan crust mixture and seasoned with creole seasoning prior to baking in an oven.
- Beer Battered Cod – The cod fillets are dipped in beer batter and fried deeply before serving with French fries.
- Portuguese Fish Stew – This stew is a staple in much of Portugal where it is served with garlic bread. Apart from cod, sausages, chicken broth, bass fillets are also used to make the stew. The choice of other combining ingredients depends on taste preferences of the chef and individual.
Health Benefits of Cod Fish
- Cardiovascular Benefits – The cod is known to aid people suffering from atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular complications. It is enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and vitamin b12. These act on cholesterol, and homocysteine , which threaten to cause plaque in the blood vessels leading to other cardiovascular complications. The fish is also known to improve functioning of heart muscles.
- Lowers Triglycerides – It is a type of fat which is produced in our bloodstream. High amounts of triglycerides are associated with high LDL, and high total cholesterol, which leads to many health complications. The omega -3 fatty acids in this fish counters the production of triglycerides and boosts overall health.
- Protects against Cancer – The fish consumption is related to reduced incidences of colon cancer. The vitamin B12 and selenium found in the fish are known to reduce the risk of development of cancerous cells in the colon.
Selection and Storage
- Fresh whole cods are always stored in ice and topped with fillets. The flesh has minimal gaping and also gleams a lot.
- The freshness and goodness of the fish can be analyzed by its smell. It becomes increasingly difficult to detect the smell through plastic bags, so it is always best to buy the complete fish.
- The fish should be stored in refrigerator immediately after the purchase. It is always better to store the fish in special storage because temperature within refrigerator is always slightly lower than the temperatures at which cod fish survives. At lower temperature there are high chances for the fish getting spoiled easily.
This is a cod found with deformed skull with a distinct crown or top and it is known as King Cod. The Norwegians believed that this cod possessed special qualities and utilized it for weather forecasting.