When you think of fish sticks and those delicious, fast food restaurant-style fried fish sandwiches, you are most likely imagining different preparations of cod. They are also the iconic fish used in fish and chips.
First and foremost, cod is a dense and flaky white fish with a mild flavor which means it can be used in a whole host of delicious recipes because it plays nice with other flavors. Haddock and whiting belong to the same family of fish and can be used in a pinch.
Types of Cod
There are three types of cod: Atlantic, Pacific, and Greenland. I think you can guess why each is named as such.
For a long time, overfishing paired with popularity lead to a depletion of populations. Thankfully, those numbers are up and climbing back.
The fish can grow to be anywhere from 11-26 pounds and be a greyish-green or reddish-brown in color. It is a cold-water fish meaning they have delicious rich meat to put up with cold waters AND a liver that is high in fat. Some of us might have been given cod liver oil as kids, but I sincerely hope you were spared.
History of Cod
As a foodstuff, it has been around for centuries. The Vikings caught and sold it while the Norwegians dried it and sold it to southern Europe. It was incredibly popular in Portugal as far back as the 15th century, and here in the US, it was integral to the growth of the entire state of Massachusetts which just happened to be near a fishing ground where cod hung out.
Buy & Cooking Cod
Cod can be purchased fresh or frozen, but frozen is going to be what you find most often as they are caught so far offshore. It should always be eaten cooked and it is not suitable for raw consumption.
The general rule of thumb is to cook it to an internal temp of 140-145F and I highly suggest using a meat thermometer. This takes the guesswork out of the cooking and ensures you don’t have rubbery fish for dinner.