I try to eat fish fairly frequently – at least 2-3 times a week because it is so good for you.
I managed to get some frozen cod fillets at a really good price the other day, and this is what I made with them:
This is a simple dish to make – cod fillets baked in the oven with sea salt, olive oil, lemons and fresh dill to provide flavour. Once cooked, I sat the fish on some spinach that had been simply cooked with a little olive oil and some sea salt.
I am not fond of overly fancy fish (what my mother would have called “fish messed around with”) – I like to keep it simple. Baked, grilled, broiled or fried… I love fish and like the flavour to shine, and I find that if you add too many ingredients, you do not get the real flavour of the fish.
And in this dish the flavour really really DID shine!
You don’t have to eat the lemon slices – they are really there to provide flavour as the fish cooks. I actually did eat them, because I like lemon slices… and if you cut them thinly enough they become tender enough to eat.
When buying cod, make sure it comes from a sustainable source. Alaskan Cod is what is currently recommended as the most sustainable. Frozen fish is fine to eat on the AIP – in fact, unless you live on the coast, frozen fish may actually be better quality than fresh fish. And this is certainly the case in land-locked Alberta where I live.
Also, do not be afraid to use frozen spinach – quite often it is cheaper than the fresh stuff, and it can even be fresher because it is frozen soon after picking. The fresh spinach may often be shipped long distances and stored in grocery store warehouses for a few days before you can even purchase it. That means that it’s nutritional value has diminished. Of course if you can access fresh local spinach from a farmer’s market or CSA that is better still… But no matter whether it is fresh or frozen, leafy greens like spinach are on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list and should always be organic.
The lemon should also be organic because you will be using the skin. I would also give it a good scrub to remove any waxes or finishes that may have been added to make it keep for longer.
This recipe is 100% AIP friendly because it was cooked so simply with minimal ingredients.
Cod Baked With Lemon And Dill
- 2 fresh or frozen cod fillets – aprox 6oz each – thawed if frozen
- 1 small bunch of fresh dill
- 1 organic lemon
- Sea salt to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic – minced
- 1 bag of spinach, fresh or frozen (aprox 4 cups)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Use a small amount of olive oil to grease a baking dish that is big enough to hold the fish fillets without them overlapping – you do not want too much space, but equally, you don’t want them lying on top of one another…. this picture is a good guide…
This picture was taken after cooking,and the fish has shrunk slightly… as a guide, the fish should fit snugly with no overlaps….
Lay the fish in the base of the dish and drizzle with a little more olive oil (This will help keep it moist and will also add flavour – remember, fat is flavour!). Season it generously with the salt.
Now lay 2-3 entire sprigs of the dill (remove any really large stalks – aim to just use the tender, edible ones) on top of the fish.
Take the lemon slices and lay 3-4 on top of each fish fillet.
This will give the fish the amazing flavour you are after
Drizzle with a little more olive oil (remember, fat is flavour!) and put the dish in the preheated oven…
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the fish is opaque and flaking. Thin fillets may need less time, thicker ones may need more, check and adjust the time accordingly. Just don’t over cook the fish!
While the fish is cooking, in what you estimate to be the last 5 minutes of the cooking time, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add the garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until it it fragrant but not browned.
Now add the spinach to the skillet, season with a little sea salt and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted and tender.
Pile the spinach on serving plates and place a fish fillet on top.
Serve at once.