Cod, or Fish Piccata
March and April are good months to head offshore and catch bottom fish like cod, haddock, and wolfish. These three fish are found in cold saltwater in depths of a few hundred feet. For those wishing to catch them too, look to head out on days that have flat seas and light variable winds. Cod don’t like temperature changes and prefer cold temps during the day and warmer temps at night, and because they like consistency you’ll find them in areas that have a flat bottom with ample baitfish and crabs and shrimp. Make sure to grab extra jackets then head to the banks. There, try sending drop sinkers and hooks baited with salted sea clams.These fish are some the best tasting around.
My personal favorite is the cod, mostly because their white, flakey filets can be dressed up with spices or cooked plain. Broiled, baked, and fried cod are common ways to cook cod (think Fish and Chips), but my favorite recipe is Cod Piccata. I’ve renamed the recipe Fish Piccata because haddock and wolfish work well, too. Here is the basic recipe that takes about 15 minutes to make. Serve with garlic bread, rice like risotto, and a salad and you’re good to go.
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion, separated into rings
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped tomato
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 (8-ounce) cod fillets
4 ounces of dry white wine
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add chopped tomato, capers, cumin, and crushed red pepper; cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finish cooking with the wine, add fillets to skillet, and spooning sauce over fillets occasionally. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Because they’re such a good tasting fish, cod are vulnerable to over-fishing. The effort and expense to get to the fishing grounds means you’ll want to catch your limit when you go. The way we balance conservation is to reduce our number of trips. That way we’ll get to enjoy Cod Picatta for the next decade!
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Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.