With a complex flavor that belies the simple ingredients and preparation, Oven-Poached Lemon Butter Cod is a perfect addition to your dinner repertoire.
Sometimes you need a little easy for dinner–or maybe a whole lot of easy! But I don’t like to give up flavor to get it. That’s when it’s great to have a dish like this Oven-Poached Lemon Butter Cod, waiting in your back pocket!
With simple preparation and a simple sauce, it includes a secret ingredient (vermouth, shh) that adds a nuanced flavor and a little class to the dish. It reminds me of the impact a shot of sherry has, stirred into a warm soup!
Why You’ll Love This!
Tasty. Seasoned butter alone would be good. But the vermouth in the sauce gives it a punch of flavor and class that makes this extra special.
Easy. You simply make up a quick butter sauce, pour it over your cod and bake. How easy is that!
Healthy. Though not a powerhouse of omega-3 like salmon, cod is loaded with lean healthy protein. And who doesn’t have “eat more fish” on their to do list!
What You’ll Need
- Cod. This is the main component of the dish. You can substitute another mild white fish like haddock.
- Butter. This adds richness and moisture.
- Lemon. This provides the lemon flavor.
- Vermouth. This provides additional flavor and sophisticated notes. First choice on substitution would be dry sherry, then a dry-ish white wine. For an alcohol free version, you can use chicken stock.
- Garlic. This adds flavor to the sauce.
- Parsley. This also adds flavor to the sauce.
- Salt, pepper.
- Optional: extra lemon slices for garnish
- No special tools are needed!
Step by Step Directions
Melt butter in a small saucepan or microwave. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the vermouth, chopped parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Pour the butter mixture over the cod.
Bake until the cod is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Drizzle with butter to serve, and top with a lemon wedge if desired.
How to Serve
Just add a vegetable and a starch to make this a complete meal. A nice green salad, like this Butter Lettuce Strawberry Salad (with that yummy poppyseed dressing), is also a tasty and healthy addition.
If you’re especially busy or tired, the easiest starch is probably a quality bread served with butter or olive oil. Another option is a potato dish like parsley buttered potatoes. But my real favorite is simply rice. Topped with some of the butter sauce, it becomes extra special too!
Finally, one of my readers added frozen peas right to the cooking pan in this recipe. I haven’t tried it but I love the idea. I’m always up for an easy way to get another vegetable!
If you have a little extra time, you can reduce the sauce at the end. To do this, keep the fish warm, put the sauce in a sauce pan and cook until it’s about half the original volume. You probably won’t have extra for rice then, but it will be even more flavorful.
Cod is a workhorse of a fish. I believe this is due to a couple of factors. First, although prices have risen in recent years, cod tends to be a little less pricey than some other types of seafood. And second, cod has kind of a chameleon personality which means that it works beautifully in lots of different dishes.
If you’re a mushroom fan consider this Whitefish with Mushrooms and Vermouth, which is similar but cooked in a skillet and loaded with mushrooms. Have a desire for lobster but not the budget? How about putting your cod to use in this Poor Man’s Lobster!
And it’s perfect for plain old Fish and Chips! We often use my Pan-fried Perch recipe with cod when we decide to do our own Friday night fish fry!
Tips & FAQs
Wondering about the difference between Atlantic and Pacific Cod? According to Pittman Seafood they are closely related fish that are generally interchangeable in cooking. They add that “Atlantics have a slightly sweet taste. They also have large flakes that fall apart easily when cooked, whereas Pacific cod has a milder, more savoury profile that’s accompanied by firmer, chunkier flakes.”
What is the poaching cooking method? According to Wikipedia, “poaching is a cooking technique that involves heating food submerged in a liquid, such as water, milk, stock or wine. Poaching is differentiated from the other “moist heat” cooking methods, such as simmering and boiling, in that it uses a relatively lower temperature (about 70–80 °C (158–176 °F))”. And as such the cooking time is usually extended.
While this recipe’s oven poaching may not meet the strictest definition of poaching, the liquid is generous and doesn’t come to boil, achieving both the low temperature and the high moisture requirements.
All in One! One Pot or One Pan Meals
- Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Skillet from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Hamburger Rice Oriental Skillet from Palatable Pastime
- One Pan Cheese Ravioli with Peas and Arugula from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- One Pan Ranch Chicken and Veggies from Jen Around the World
- One-Pot Sun Dried Tomato Pasta and Sausage from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Oven Poached Lemon Butter Cod from Art of Natural Living
- Oven Roasted Sausage and Beans from That Recipe
- Sheet Pan Italian Sausage with Gnocchi, Peppers, & Onions from The Spiffy Cookie
- Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Spinach and Paneer Orzo Pasta from Magical Ingredients
Oven-Poached Lemon Butter Cod
- 2 pounds cod cut into 6 pieces
- 1/4 pound butter
- 1 small or ½ large lemon
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Optional: extra lemon slices for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 9 pan with nonstick spray then arrange cod pieces inside of it.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan (or microwave in a bowl) then squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the vermouth, chopped parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
- Pour the butter mixture over the cod fillets
- Bake until the cod is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Drizzle with butter to serve, and top with a lemon wedge if desired.
- Easy Garlic Scape Pesto
- Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad