In 1497, John Cabot went on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to North America, and it is speculated that he reached land near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland where the cod were so plentiful that they slowed his ship’s progress. Five hundred years later, Atlantic cod are a vulnerable species due to half a century of fishing, but Pacific cod is thriving, and wild Alaskan cod is a delicious and healthy option for tonight’s dinner.
Well-known for providing omega fatty acids and giving rise to the nutritionally beneficial, but terrible tasting cod liver oil, which many children were forced to eat growing up as a preventative of rickets. High in vitamin D and A, cod liver oil was a staple of many households throughout the centuries. A much tastier product of cod is the original British hot meal to go: fish and chips wrapped in old newspaper. Originally a staple meal for the working classes, fish and chips made with cod can now be found in almost every pub around the world, although in Scotland haddock is preferred to cod.
Depending on where they are found, cod can grow up to 200cm, weigh up to 96kg, and live up to 25 years. The largest cod ever caught was an Atlantic cod, 5 feet long and a whopping 103 lbs caught off the coast of Norway in May 2013. Alaskan cod, found in the Pacific Northwest, typically grows up to 119cm, weighs up to 22.7kg, and can live up to 18 years. Although they were plentiful for so long, because of hundreds of years of over-fishing, Atlantic cod has a vulnerable species status and is rarely fished. These days, if you’re buying cod from your local supermarket, chances are it is Pacific or specifically Alaskan cod.
Living in the depths of the ocean, cod live and travel up to 200 miles in schools. Cod are naturally slow swimmers, but lucky for them, their only natural enemies are humans. The age of a cod can be determined by how many rings are visible on the cod’s skull. Born at the surface of the water, cod are bottom-dwellers who swim with their mouths open and feast on any number of smaller fish and crustaceans that find their way into their mouths – even smaller cod.
Cod has long been a choice fish for its flesh that is much whiter than other fish because of its quick actions rather than endurance, which is why cod are unable to outrun trawlers. Fans of cod range from the Basques who journeyed to North America in the 1500s to today’s average McDonald’s customer – cod was the original fish meat used in the Filet-O-Fish burger.
Alaskan cod is a flaky, white fish that is lean protein with a mild flavour and provides omega-3 fatty acids and high percentage of vitamin B-12. Cod doesn’t need a lot of spices to make it delicious, as simply cooking it in oil with some lemon juice can bring out its natural taste. However, cod also provides a great base for a variety of flavours such as in Asian dishes, with Mexican spices, or rubbed with common herbs like garlic, basil, etc.
- 2 filets of Alaskan cod
- desired seasonings
- olive oil
- soft corn tortillas
- Turn on you grill to medium-high heat.
- Marinate the cod filets using olive oil and desired seasonings.
- Place cod directly onto the grill and cook until it’s no longer translucent.
- Dress your corn tortillas with lettuce leaves, cod, guacamole, salsa, and drizzle with olive oil to serve.