This Greek-Style Panko Crusted Cod features crispy white fish portions in a simple pan sauce of sherry, fresh lemon juice, garlic, capers, anchovy paste, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs. It’s quick and easy to make using your well-stocked pantry and a few fresh ingredients! Today we’ll take a look at the Mediterranean flavor profile, and how to use it to put together healthy, delicious dishes!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks – About the Mediterranean Flavor Profile
As I mention in my cooking with flavor profiles post that I posted recently, I have started a series that aims to teach my readers how to use flavor profiles to create recipes from a well-stocked pantry and a few fresh ingredients. I started the series with this pan-seared Mexican fish. My plan is to cover 6 flavor profiles featuring firm, mild, white fish. Today, I’m covering the Mediterranean flavor profile, and doing this Greek-Style Panko Crusted Cod.
The Mediterranean Sea is the body of water that ties the Mediterranean countries together… 21 in all. They are Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
When you think of “Mediterranean cuisine,” what comes to mind?
Personally, my mind goes to Greek and Moroccan because I cook both regularly. My Moroccan carrot salad is consistently one of my most popular recipes. My eclectic Greek lamb pizza is another favorite. However, Mediterranean cuisine includes Italian and Spanish, as well as the cuisine from Syria and Turkey.
The cooking of the Mediterranean basin is not to be confused with the Mediterranean Diet. The diet is only loosely based on Mediterranean cuisines with heavy emphasis on Greek and Italian – olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts and seeds, heart healthy fats, legumes, and lots of fresh produce. I take this approach with most of my cooking.
I have included lists of both pantry and fresh ingredients I keep on hand to inspire me when I’m cooking with flavor profiles. I typically have plenty of fish and other lean proteins in my refrigerator or freezer.
Mediterranean Pantry Ingredients
- olive oil
- good olives
- sun dried and canned tomatoes
- pomegranate molasses
- anchovies and/or anchovy paste
- short grained rice (bomba, arborio)
- legumes – lentils, chick peas, cannelini, fava beans
- nuts – pistachios, almonds, walnuts
- preserved lemons
- spices – sumac, za’atar, coriander, cumin, sweet and smoked paprika, allspice, etc.
Mediterranean Fresh Ingredients
- fresh herbs – mint, dill, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, bay, saffron, oregano, etc.
- seasonal vegetables
🐟 How to Make Fish “Mediterranean”
As I mentioned earlier, we’re using a firm, mild, white fish. On photo day, I used some nice, thick Atlantic cod portions. Barramundi is another great sustainable option. See “fish” under ingredients for more suggestions.
I knew I wanted the fish to have a crunchy coating, as I wanted to mix things up after doing the Mexican fish most recently. So, I went to panko (bread crumbs) with simple additions to boost the flavor – smoked paprika, garlic powder, lemon zest, and sea salt. I knew I wanted to do a very simple pan sauce, and that often starts by de-glazing the sauté pan with dry sherry (Spanish).
Once the fish is coated and cooked, the fun begins. I chose ingredients from a few different northern Mediterranean regions – anchovy paste, dry Spanish sherry, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, fresh lemon, and pinions (aka pine nuts).
The pan sauce starts with the anchovy paste and garlic, and is followed by the dry sherry, some fresh lemon juice, capers and sun-dried tomatoes. The crispy, crunchy fish in the tangy pan sauce is lovely with lemon orzo risotto, and Roman-style spinach (see photo below).
📋 Ingredients Notes
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- fish – A firm, mild, flaky white fish like cod is my preference for this recipe. I try to stick with sustainable fish, and use the best quality available at the time. Red snapper, halibut, barramundi, tilapia, black drum, sheepshead, sea trout are all good choices.
- panko bread crumbs – I like the crunchy texture of panko, but you can use the bread crumbs, nut crumbs, gluten free bread crumbs, etc. to your preference.
- Spanish paprika – Sweet paprika is fine as well.
- garlic powder
- olive oil
- anchovy paste – Anchovy paste is super convenient, but you can smash an anchovy (or two) into the pan or omit it if you hate them. I love the salty, umami flavor they bring to the dish, and they’re a very common Mediterranean ingredient.
- fresh garlic
- dry sherry – I keep a bottle of dry sherry on hand for cooking. The alcohol cooks out, leaving behind the flavor. You can substitute cooking sherry or broth.
- sun-dried tomatoes – If I have slow roasted tomatoes on hand, they’re my first choice (especially if they’re homemade!). Sun-dried tomatoes need to be soft and pliable when they go into the pan as this is a quick pan sauce, and they will not soften in the pan. Oil-packed are probably the best option.
- capers – We love the bright, briny acidity they bring to the dish. If you don’t care for them, add artichoke hearts or kalamata olives instead.
- fresh herbs – There are myriad choices for fresh herbs! I have rosemary and Mediterranean oregano in my garden, so they were obvious choices. Dill, parsley, and basil are great options as well. Make it your own!
- Make the breading – Add the panko bread crumbs, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and lemon zest to a bowl. Stir (or use your hands!) to combine.
- Mis en place – Mis en place (preparation) is critical with quick dishes like this panko crusted cod. You’ll place the seasoned bread crumbs in one bowl, the beaten egg in another. Have the fish portions patted dry, and the pan sauce ingredients on hand and ready to go.
- Start the fish – Dip the fish in the beaten egg, then press firmly into the seasoned bread crumbs on both sides. Be somewhat aggressive to coat the fish as evenly as possible. After drizzling some oil into a pan over medium-high heat, add the breaded fish.
- Finish cooking the fish – When the panko breaded cod is browned on one side, gently turn. I find a fish spatula is helpful. Total cooking time for 1″ of fish is about 10 minutes. I look for 1″ thick fish fillets, so I usually do about 6 minutes on the first side, and 4 minutes on the second. It works out pretty well!
- Start the pan sauce – Add the garlic and anchovy paste to the pan. Sauté 1-2 minutes until fragrant. De-glaze with the sherry. Reduce slightly.
- Finish the pan sauce – Add the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, fresh herbs, and lemon juice to the pan. Bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Taste for seasoning.
- Finish the panko crusted cod – Add the cooked, crunchy panko crusted cod (or other fish) back to the pan, spoon some sauce over top, and heat through.
- Serve and enjoy – My favorite way to serve this panko crusted fish is with lemony orzo and sautéed spinach.
- alcohol free – omit the dry sherry, and use chicken, seafood, or vegetable broth/stock
- gluten free – substitute gluten free panko, nut crumbs (a gluten free alternative), or other gluten free crumb product
- substitute (or add) artichoke hearts or kalamata olives to the capers and sun-dried tomatoes
- mince a preserved lemon to add with the fresh lemon juice
Thaw frozen fish portions overnight in the refrigerator, or in cold running water.
The capers, anchovy paste, and possibly the sun-dried tomatoes contain sodium. Tasting for seasoning is critical!
Is this fish dish good leftover?
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Greek-Style Panko Crusted Cod
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- 1 cup panko bread crumbs - see Ingredients in post for more options
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- zest from 1 lemon - reserve lemon for garnish
- 1 egg - beaten
- 12 ounces fish fillets - 2 portions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup dry sherry - white wine or broth
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste - or 1 anchovy
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 lemon - juiced
- 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes - or slow-roasted tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon capers - rinsed and drained
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper - to taste!
- Add the panko bread crumbs, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and lemon zest to a bowl. Stir (or use your hands!) to combine.
- Place the seasoned bread crumbs in one bowl, the beaten egg in another. Have the fish portions patted dry, and the pan sauce ingredients on hand and ready to go.
- Dip the fish in the beaten egg, then press firmly into the seasoned bread crumbs on both sides. Be somewhat aggressive to coat the fish as evenly as possible. After drizzling some oil into a pan over medium-high heat, add the breaded fish. When the fish is browned on one side, gently turn. Repeat.
- Add the garlic and anchovy paste to the pan. Sauté 1-2 minutes until fragrant. De-glaze with the sherry. Reduce slightly. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, fresh herbs, and lemon juice to the pan. Bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Taste for seasoning.
- Add the cooked fish back to the pan, spoon some sauce over top, and heat through. Garnish with lemon slices and additional fresh herbs.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.