Our 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.
Blackened cod is naturally gluten free, dairy free, and paleo. Making it a quick and easy healthy weeknight dinner the whole family can enjoy.
Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
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I love this fish recipe because it is healthy, sugar free, 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 with a good Cajun dirty rice.
If you enjoyed our low-carb chicken piccata recipe, then this fish recipe is going to be a big hit with you!
🧾Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cod Fillets- Both fresh or frozen filets work in this recipe. Just defrost before using. When picking fresh fish, 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 level and adjust as needed. If your blackening seasoning is too salty, add equal parts of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder to hin it out.
- Olive Oil- You can use any neutral tasting oil for blackening the fish. Avocado oil and Grapeseed oil are great substitutes.
- Fresh parsley and lemon wedges for serving
Note: Depending don't eh brand blackening seasoning may also be called Cajun seasoning.
⏲️How to Blacken Cod
The method of blackening fish is to cook on high heat so that the blackening seasoning creates a crust around the fish. There will be smoke so be sure to turn on the exhaust fan, or get crazy and cook outside.
Step 1- Season the Fish
Generously coat both sides of each cod fillet with the blackening spice. Using your hands press the spices into the fish so each piece is entirely coated.
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. Slash in a few drops of water if it sizzles immediately, your pan is ready.
Step 3- Blacken the Fish
Carefully place the 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 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.
🥘 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, you don't want the seasoning to slide off during cooking.
- 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.
💭 Storing and Using Leftovers
Any leftover cod should be refrigerated in an airtight container, it will be good for 2 to 3 days. Unlike most fish recipes, we have found that blackened 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 tacos. Flake the fish with a fork and reheat the fish in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil until warmed through.
Serve in a warm soft corn tortilla shell with your favorite toppings. We like a little diced onion with our pickled watermelon radishes and a quick avocado puree.
🥗Best Side Dishes for Blackened Cod
Blackened fish is a flavorful main course all on its own. But personally, I love our pineapple and cucumber salsa on top of the fish. If you want a spicier topping our cucumber chutney takes 5 minutes and adds a Caribbean flair.
Sides dishes can be anything from salads to roasted veggies. But here are a few of our favorite pairings.
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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.
- Leftovers can be eaten cold on a salad or reheated.