An easy, kid-friendly baked Panko-Crusted Cod fish recipe makes a perfect meal for lenten Fridays or any weeknight.
This past week has been a doozy. Max came down with a nasty virus. No one got any sleep and life around our house pretty much ground to a halt while we waited out the sickies. Oh, and while he was sick, he stopped eating solid food. Completely. For five days. Seriously. He survived on milk and popsicles for nearly a week.
His illness happened to coincide with me accepting what would have been one of the biggest, most challenging food styling opportunities to come my way. As the scope of the job unfolded it quickly became obvious that I was in no position to undertake such an enormous project. Deeply disappointed, I made the decision to bow out. As much as I adore my consulting work, I am still mom and main caregiver to two very small, very needy people. Its a job I chose and will continue to choose as long as I’m needed, even when it means putting my professional aspirations on hold.
My certainty about that decision only got stronger as the week progressed. As my feverish son clung to me in the middle of the night, I was glad I could sit there with him as long as he needed without panicking about the morning to-do list. As I helped my daughter create a duct tape hopscotch board in the basement I was grateful I had the mental energy and physical time to really focus on her in that moment. As I spent a romantic-albeit-fleeting Valentine’s night with my husband I was grateful for his unwavering support and encouragement as a parent, colleague, partner and collaborator. Being a parent is never easy, but it always comes first.
Ironically, instead of cooking my butt off learning a daunting catalog of food styling recipes, I spent the week preparing simple meals for a child who wouldn’t eat any of them. When he finally expressed an interest in solids again, I knew we needed to take it slow and focus on nourishing foods that were sure to be a slam dunk.
So I made Panko-Crusted Cod. Perhaps that seems like a strange choice, but my kids love cod. Its so mild and buttery. I couldn’t think of a better way to get some protein into that little belly. And I couldn’t think of a better recipe than my ultra-simple panko crusted version.
I’m not joking about the “ultra-simple” part. I’ve got this streamlined to just four steps: season, smear, sprinkle, bake. The secret here is mayonnaise. Instead dredging the fish in a traditional coating of flour+eggs+panko crumbs, I simply place the fish on a baking sheet, , smear on some mayonnaise, sprinkle with seasoned panko crumbs and bake it in the oven. Ten minutes later you’ve got crunchy, buttery, delicious fish. Squirt on some lemon and serve it with potatoes (or fries, or a green salad or on a bun).
The kids devoured every last morsel and then asked for more. They always want more, don’t they? More dinner, more bedtime stories, more toys, more tickles, more cuddles. More momma. I’m glad I have the flexibility to be more when they need it.
Four-Step Panko-Crusted Cod
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
8 teaspoons mayonnaise
2 lbs, cod filets, cut into individual portions (I go for a little bigger than a deck of cards)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees 5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, salt and olive oil and toss until evenly combined.
- Place cod on prepared baking sheet and spread on teaspoon of mayonnaise evenly over the top of each piece of fish.
- Sprinkle and even coat of panko crumbs over the mayonnaise on each piece of fish. Press gently to help crumbs adhere.
- Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until crust is golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork.