Cornmeal Crusted Cod with Pecans and Coconut

Not the best photo, my apologies

Mary Anne here. While taking stock of my pantry and fridge last weekend, I realized I have an abundance of baking products…and unfortunately, a growing waistline to match! Post-holiday dieting is as much a tradition as the festive meals themselves, but creating appetizing dinners that are both cheap and calorie-conscious can be a challenge….

I’ll confess that this recipe isn’t unwaveringly dietetic (I tried!), but in the spirit of utilizing holiday leftovers while trimming the fat, I decided that fish needs to play a more regular role on my post-Xmas menu. The real trick was incorporating some of the surplus pantry treats without ratcheting up the cals.

To make this dish even leaner, Mariel says she’d sub-in egg whites (2 egg whites = 1 whole egg), use skim milk and scrap the coconut – although it really did provide such a sweet complement to the spicy cayenne pepper (and is only used in a teensy-weensy amount).

I served this with brown rice, as shown – but I need to apologize for the photo: on camera, the pecans and rice kind of overtook the beauty of the crisp filets. It was certainly more attractive in real life, I swear.

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Cornmeal Crusted Cod with Pecans and Coconut
Serves 4

Note: Use any thick filet such as Halibut, Sea Bass, or Red Snapper — thinner filets like Flounder tend to fall apart when sautéed.

4- 6 oz. Cod filets, between ¼ and ½ inch thick – $8.28
½ cup all-purpose flour – stock
4 Tablespoons cornmeal –stock
½ Teaspoon dried Tarragon – stock
¼ Teaspoon cayenne (optional) – stock
3 Teaspoons Hungarian paprika – stock
salt and pepper – stock
3 Tablespoons Canola oil – stock
1 egg, lightly beaten – stock
1/3 cup milk – stock
¼ cup butter, sliced – stock
3/4 cup pecans, chopped – stock (or $3.67 if you didn’t do much baking this Dec)
4 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional) – stock (or $.67 if you need to replenish your post-holiday baking supply)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herb (I had dill on hand): cilantro; parsley or dill – stock
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $8.28 (or $12.62 if you have to buy pecans and coconut)
Total Per Serving: $2.07 (or $3.15)

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. On a plate or shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, tarragon, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper.

2. In a medium size bowl whisk the egg with the milk.

3. In a large skillet, heat the Canola oil over medium high flame. The oil is hot enough when a small drop of water or the flour mixture sizzles in the pan.

4. As the oil heats, dip the filets into the egg and milk mixture and then dredge each one in the flour-cornmeal mixture.

5. Sauté the filets over high heat (you might have to do this in 2 batches. The filets should not touch each other) for about 3 minutes on each side until crisp and deep gold.

6. Transfer to a platter and keep warm in the 225-degree oven.

7. To the same skillet, add the butter and melt it over medium flame. Add the chopped pecans and coconut, tossing well to combine. Sauté, stirring often, for about 3 or 4 minutes until the pecans are fragrant and the coconut is a pale gold.

8. Transfer the fish to serving plates. Sprinkle with the chopped fresh herb of your choice and garnish with the pecan-coconut mixture.


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