Fresh cod fillets are generously topped with fresh minced garlic and a variety of chopped fresh herbs which is combined with mayonnaise and grated parmesan cheese. The fish is perfectly baked until brown and bubbly. Garlic Herb Baked Cod Fish is both savoury and delicious!
Cod fish was probably the number one source of seafood protein in our family home, so I’m going to use it for my Garlic Herb Baked Cod Fish. Living in Newfoundland, in a small fishing village, in the 80s, made sure of that. Cod was in abundance back in those days, and we ate it whenever we were presented with the chance. Actually, most people ate it whenever presented with the chance, but I was a little picky when it came to the preparation of fish.
First of all, everyone who knows anything about seafood at all, knows that seafood and fresh garlic are a match made in heaven. But, I can honestly say with 100% assurance that fresh garlic was never brought into my mother’s kitchen. And, cooking cod with garlic was unheard of. Fish dishes from my mother’s kitchen were basic and home-style.
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SALTED VS FRESH FISH
Salted and dried cod was the fish of choice, and unfortunately, it was the only way I would not eat cod. I hated the texture of it; I hated the saltiness of it; and I hated that in most cases, the bones were still in it. Fisherman’s Brewis, not to be confused with Fish and Brewis, were often prepared by my mom or dad. Both dishes are a Newfoundland delicacy and consist of salted cod fish and Newfoundland hard bread.
On the occasion when fresh cod was present, the meal changed from traditional Newfoundland cuisine to what might have been considered modern at that point in time. Fresh cod was never baked – not that I can remember. Usually, it was pan-fried in a cast iron skillet with pork fatback. There was never a need for oil or butter, because fatback was the bomb! Fried cod with fatback that has been diced and fried until rendered and crunchy, (Newfoundlanders call this scrunchions) was the best way to eat cod.
Other than that, cod was lightly battered and deep fried. Personally, I think that was my favourite way to eat cod, probably because we got to eat fries with it! In recent years, I’ve been trying to increase my seafood repertoire. I’ve been branching out into baked fish, like this salmon. And, trying to copy my mom’s fried squid. And, most recently, we’ve been experimenting with shrimp, as you see here in my Crispy Fried Shrimp recipe.
TYPES OF FISH THAT WORK IN THIS RECIPE
This Garlic Herb Baked Cod Fish recipe works best with white, flaky fish. Obviously, cod is one of the go-to choices for deep-fried fish. But, you can use other white fish varieties as well. Cod can be expensive, depending on where you live. I get our cod from Ottawa Valley Meats. I wish they could deliver everywhere, but they are limited to just Ontario for now. For this recipe, I used just under two pounds of cod. That was less than $17, which is a steal!
If you are in Ontario, be sure to take a look at the website. Ottawa Valley Meats offers seafood, beef, poultry, pork, etc. And, they deliver right to your door! My box of seafood arrived the next day and was delivered in a chilled truck. I’ve had frozen meat and seafood delivered before, but never as well as this. Even the driver waited by his truck after leaving the box at our door. He was so friendly and wanted to make sure we got the box without any issues. I can’t wait for my next order to arrive!
Let’s get back to the fish. You can use halibut, which is another very common white fish used in deep-fried fish recipes. You can also use tilapia, which is probably one of the cheapest types of white fish. Haddock is another popular fish often found in fried fish shacks. Grouper will work, although I have to say, I’m not too familiar with cooking with that fish. Finally, sole and flounder will work well too!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Cod– One pound of cod, cut into four 4-ounce pieces, will feed 4 people. Set the pieces on a plate lined with paper towels to help absorb some of the moisture.
- Mayonnaise – Yes, mayo! It works and it’s delicious! Any mayonnaise will do, but be sure to use mayo, not sandwich spread or miracle whip!
- Parmesan Cheese – I love to use freshly grated parmesan whenever possible, but I’m not against the kind bought in a can either if that fits better into your grocery budget.
- Garlic – You will need two cloves of garlic. Use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. It makes all the difference!
- Parsley – This will add both colour and freshness.
- Chives – Use fresh chives, not dried! They taste like onions, but they’re very mild. They will add not only flavour, but freshness, and colour too.
- Thyme – Fresh thyme leaves are the best option. They add an earthy, slightly minty and lemony flavour.
- Oregano – Fresh oregano leaves add a slightly spicy and sweet taste. It’s not spicy enough to add heat!
- Ground Black Pepper
HOW TO MAKE GARLIC HERB BAKED COD FISH
Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Next, lay the cod fillets onto several layers of paper towels. Lay several more layers on top and gently push down onto each fillet with the palm of your hand. Don’t push so hard that you flatten the cod. The goal here is to push out some of the excess moisture. The paper towels will absorb the water content. Discard the paper towels. Transfer the cod to the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least two inches of space between each fillet.
Next, measure the mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, chive, thyme, oregano, and ground black pepper into a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to blend the ingredients together. Spoon the mixture evenly over the four cod fillets. Use the back of the spoon to smooth out the mayo mixture so that the top of each fillet is evenly covered.
Bake in the preheated oven for twelve minutes. The cod will be cooked perfectly! If the mayonnaise mixture has not browned to your liking, you can place the fish under your broiler for a minute, but watch it carefully, because it will burn. Garnish with more parsley and herbs, if desired. Serve immediately.
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I know a wedge of parmesan – even a small one – can be anywhere from 12 to 20 dollars. So, you can use other cheeses that will save you a few bucks. My go-to cheese if I can’t get good parmesan is pecorino romano. It has a very similar taste and texture.
I have another option that’s a little outside the box, but don’t knock it until you try it! Have you heard of nutritional yeast? It’s quite good and is an ingredient many vegans will use as a parmesan alternative.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast commonly used as an ingredient in creamy, dairy-free cheese substitutes. You can often find it used as a topping for foods like my Doritos Cool Ranch Popcorn.
PLEASE USE FRESH HERBS
I don’t want to sound all preachy here, but I cannot tell you how important it is to use fresh herbs. The whole basis of the topping for this Garlic Herb Baked Cod Fish is the fresh herbs, so fresh herbs are a must! I understand that not everyone wants to buy all of these herbs for just one dish. If you live in Ontario, you can oftentimes find a fresh herb variety packet at Loblaws or Sobeys. Or, maybe you have a neighbour with a herb garden! Trade them a piece of cod for some fresh thyme, oregano, parsley, and chives!
The packets of fresh herbs at most chain grocery stores will give you way more than you need to make this recipe. Again, speaking for those stores in Ontario only, a packet of fresh herbs will run about three dollars each. So, it might cost about twelve dollars to get all of the herbs needed for this recipe. But, Dear Reader, let me tell you how to cut that price by two-thirds!
Here in Canada, Walmart sells really small packets of fresh herbs for ninety-nine cents! So, you can buy all four of the fresh herbs needed for this recipe for about four dollars. That’s actually cheaper than buying little jars of dried herbs!
I think that Garlic Herb Baked Cod Fish deserves to shine on the plate. That is exactly why I would pair my cod with something simple like mashed potatoes. You will want something homey and something delicious, yet muted. How about my Herb Butter Mashed Potatoes? Do you see a running theme here? These are very flavourful, but they also mimic the flavours of the herbs used in the cod recipe.
Another great side to any seafood recipe is asparagus and I can’t think of a recipe better than my Lemon Butter Asparagus. It will work perfectly with this cod! Before you get to the recipe, there is another recipe here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen that I would like to draw your attention to. Most people might not think of this, but rice pairs very well with white fish! We like hearty rice, which is why we usually have brown rice. Try my Brown Rice with Kale and Parmesan. It’s so delicious!
Do You Like This Recipe?
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Garlic Herb Baked Cod Fish
- 1 pound fresh cod, cut into 4 fillets
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Next, lay the cod fillets onto several layers of paper towel. Lay several more layers on top and gently push down onto each fillet with the palm of your hand. Don’t push so hard that you flatten the cod. The goal here is to push out some of the excess moisture. The paper towels will absorb the water content. Discard the paper towels.
- Transfer the cod to the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least two inches of space between each fillet.
- Next, measure the mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, chive, thyme, oregano, and ground black pepper into a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to blend the ingredients together.
- Spoon the mixture evenly over the four cod fillets. Use the back of the spoon to smooth out the mayo mixture so that the top of each fillet is evenly covered.
- Bake in the preheated oven for twelve minutes.
- If the mayonnaise mixture has not browned to your liking, you can place the fish under your broiler for a minute, but watch it carefully, because it will burn.
- Garnish with more parsley and herbs, if desired. Serve immediately.
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