When trying to get more protein into my diet, I immediately start thinking about eating more fish. Fish is practically a superfood. Not only is it high in protein and low in calories, but medical studies have suggested that eating fish can help prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, and even acne. This panko crusted cod recipe is a great way to get more fish into your diet. Mild-tasting, meaty cod fillets with a crispy crumb crust are a hit with almost everyone, even people who don’t love seafood. Add a bright, citrusy lemon aioli, and you’ve got a family favorite recipe you’ll return to again and again.
This recipe calls for panko cod fillets to be fried in oil, which does add fat and calories to the dish. Choose a heart-healthy oil like corn oil or light olive oil. I measured the oil used in this recipe before and after frying, and I found that each serving contains about one tablespoon.
Start this recipe by making the lemon aioli. Making the lemon aioli is absolutely simple – just whisk all the ingredients together to combine thoroughly. Set the sauce aside so the flavors can blend while you prep and cook the cod fillets.
This lemon aioli recipe uses both lemon juice and lemon zest for a powerful punch of lemon flavor. For me, the best way to zest a citrus fruit is with a microplane. You might want to watch this quick video to learn the best way to zest lemons using a microplane.
The most important thing to keep in mind when zesting citrus with a microplane is to be careful not to cut yourself, because microplane graters are sharp! Another important tip is that you don’t want to press the fruit into the microplane. This is because you only want the outer yellow layer of the lemon peel, not the inner white layer. The white layer tastes bitter, and you don’t want that in your recipe. Another good way to zest lemons is using a box grater.
Lemon aioli is a versatile “everything sauce,” and you’ll probably end up serving it with more than just fish. I love to serve it with vegetables or roasted chicken.
For this panko crusted cod recipe, I used frozen cod fillets from Costco. If fresh cod is available where you live, that’s even better. The cod fillets I had were between five and eight ounces each. Some of the larger ones seemed to naturally come apart into two pieces. If your fish fillets are different sizes, try to cook the same size pieces together, because smaller pieces will tend to cook faster.
If your cod fillets are wet, pat them dry with paper towels. This will keep the breading from getting too thick or soggy.
The process for making this panko crusted cod will seem familiar if you’ve made any type of crumb-crusted fried recipe. Sprinkle the cod fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Cod is a mild tasting fish, so you’ll want to build up layers of flavor and seasoning.
Each piece of seasoned cod is dipped first in seasoned flour, then beaten egg, then panko breadcrumbs. Here are the coated cod fillets, ready to be cooked:
I fried my panko crusted cod using my T-fal self-cleaning deep fryer, which I got for Christmas, because my family knows I love cooking gadgets! I use my deep fryer only once or twice a month, but I love it. I’ve seen the same model used on “Master Chef” and “The Great British Baking Show.” An electric fryer keeps the oil at the exact right temperature, so the crumb coating turns out light and crispy, not greasy.
The thing I love about this deep fryer is that when you’re done frying, the oil passes through a filter and into a storage tank so you can use it again. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can make this panko cod in a frying pan on the stovetop, and it will be just as good.
Cook your panko crusted cod at a temperature of 370 degrees F in the deep fryer for about five minutes, until the fillets are medium brown and cooked through. With my fryer, I was able to do three at a time.
If cooking the fillets on the stovetop, cook on medium-high heat for about three minutes on each side.
Cod fillets should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. I use a food thermometer to make sure the fish is done inside, and also to check the temperature of the frying oil.
My absolute favorite food thermometer is the Thermoworks Thermapen MK4. This is the best, most accurate and most durable pen-style food thermometer you can buy. It’s waterproof, with a rotating, backlit display. Another good choice is the Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo. If you want a less expensive but very accurate food thermometer, I recommend the cute little Thermoworks Thermopop.
These light, crispy panko cod fillets truly are a family favorite. The lemon aioli adds a bright, fresh flavor that takes this dish over the top. I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Nutrition info is for fish fillets only. Lemon aioli adds 80 calories, 9g fat, 0g carbohydrate and 0g protein per tablespoon. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
For the lemon aioli:
For the panko crusted cod:
Serving Size: 1 filet, 4-5 oz.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310 Total Fat: 16g Carbohydrates: 13g Protein: 29g
Nutrition info is for fish fillets only. Lemon aioli adds 80 calories, 9g fat, 0g carbohydrate and 0g protein per tablespoon.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.