This blackened cod recipe uses our homemade blackening seasoning to create the perfect crust on the outside and a flaky inside. The Cajun-style seasoning can be made mild or spicy, so don't shy away from its bold flavor.
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I love this fish recipe because it is healthy and packed with flavor but only takes 15 minutes. It is great any time of year and can be served on top of a salad or or with our chimichurri rice pilaf.
📖Why This Recipe Works
This delicious recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo. Making it a quick and easy healthy weeknight dinner the whole family can enjoy.
After testing several brands of seasoning of
My homemade Cajun seasoning blend has the perfect combination of spices without being too salty. More flavor and less sodium.
Cod Fillets- Both fresh and frozen filets work in this recipe. Just defrost before using. When picking out fresh cod, the filets should be of similar shape and size and smell like the ocean, not fish.
You can substitute other fish types. Mahi makes a wonderful substitution.
Blackening Seasoning- You can use homemade or store-bought. If using store-bought check for salt and spice levels and adjust as needed.
If your store-bought blackening seasoning is too salty, add equal parts of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder to thin it out.
Note: Depending on the brand blackening seasoning may also be called Cajun seasoning.
Olive Oil- You can use any neutral-tasting oil for blackening the fish. Avocado oil and Grapeseed oil are great substitutes. But I actually love to use leftover bacon fat when I am feeling decadent.
Garnishes- Fresh parsley and lemon wedges for serving
⏲️How to Blacken Cod
The method of blackening fish is to cook on high heat so that the spice blend creates a blackened crust around the fish. There will be smoke so be sure to turn on the exhaust fan, or get crazy and cook outside.
Start by prepping your spice mixture. The recipe will make about 1 cup of the spice blend and you will see approximately ¼ of that in this recipe.
Step 1- Season the Fish
Start by gently drying your fish with paper towels. The spice blend will actually adhere better if the fish is dry.
Generously coat both sides of the fish fillets with the blackening spice. Using your hands press the spices into the fish so each piece is entirely coated.
A quarter cup of seasoning may seem like a lot but definitely don't skimp. Add more if needed. You need quite a bit of seasoning to form a good crust.
Step 2- Properly Heat the Pan
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet. A cast-iron skillet is my preference. The oil should cover the entire pan to ensure the fish doesn't stick.
Be patient when heating your pan, it needs to be very hot before you add the fish. Use the water test to determine when the skillet is ready. S
Splash in a few drops of water if it sizzles immediately, your pan is ready.
Step 3- Blacken the Fish
Carefully place the seasoned cod into the skillet, and cook for 4 minutes. Carefully flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer until the thickest part of the fish reaches between 135 F and 145 F degrees.
A fish spatula, while not necessary, does make flipping the fish much easier. It has flexibility while being strong enough to separate the meat from the pan.
🥗How to Serve Blackened Fish
Blackened fish is a flavorful main dish all on its own. But personally, I love our pineapple and cucumber salsa on top of the fish.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Want to amp up the flavor? Lightly brush a little Dijon mustard or hot sauce on the fish before pressing on the seasoning. Don't overdo it, excess moisture willl cause the seasoning to slide off during cooking.
🌡️ Storing Leftovers
Leftover cod fillets should be refrigerated in an airtight container, it will be good for 2 to 3 days.
Unlike most fish recipes, we have found that cod makes great leftovers. Cod holds up better to reheating than thinner fishes like tilapia or steak style cuts like mahi-mahi.
The cooked cod can be served cold on a salad or reheated. My preferred use for leftover cod is in fish tacos.
Flake the fish with a fork and reheat the fish in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil until warmed through.
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💬Frequently Asked Questions
Black cod is a type of fish, also called Sablefish, and blackened cod is fish cooked with crust of spices at a high heat. Black cod is fattier and less flakey than Atlantic cod.
The FDA recommends 145 F degrees but I find that cod is optimal at about 135 F degrees. This will ensure the center is nearly opaque and lovely flaky texture. The fish will come up in temperature while you are plating it. You can use an instant read meat thermometer to check the temperature.
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📖 Printable Recipe Card
- Generously coat both sides of each cod fillet with the blackening spice, about 1 tablespoon per piece of fish. Press the spices into the fish so each piece is entirely coated.4 6-ounce cod fillets, ¼ cup blackening seasoning
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should cover the entire pan. The skillet is ready when you flick in a bit of water and it sizzles immediately.2 tablespoons olive oil
- Place the cod into the skillet, and cook for 4 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the thickest part of the fish reaches 145 F degrees. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley and fresh lemon wedges.chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges
- Mix together all ingredients. This recipe will make more than is needed for the cod. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 6 months.3 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.
- Leftovers can be eaten cold on a salad or reheated and used for fish tacos or other recipes.