A simple and delicious way to highlight fresh Alaska cod. The crisp coating comes from a combo of cornstarch and flour; add in your preferred spices, such as blackened seasoning, Old Bay, garlic powder or a pinch of ground turmeric for color and flavor. Shallow pan frying requires less oil and makes for an easier clean-up. Make sure to use a heavy bottom skillet, such as cast iron, with at least 2-inch sides and pour enough oil to cover the bottom by about 1 inch. Serve hot on soft rolls lightly toasted and slathered with a kicky sauce that gets punch from chopped kimchi. If you prefer, go more traditional with mayo, capers, horseradish, fresh garlic and green onion. Enjoy as is or dress it up with lettuce, tomato, pickles, maybe even some crisp bacon, and a few hits of a vinegar-based hot sauce or a squeeze of fresh lemon. — Kim Sunée
Fresh cod sandwich with kimchi tartar
Makes 4 servings
About 1/3 cup oil for shallow pan frying, such as avocado, grapeseed or sunflower
1 pound fillet wild cod or rockfish, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free corn or all-purpose 1-to-1 flour
Salt, black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne or paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 (6-inch) sandwich rolls, such as bolillo or hoagie or French
For garnish, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.
• On a large plate, combine cornstarch, flour, 1 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper and any other spices, such as garlic powder or paprika, etc. Set aside and make sauce: Combine in a medium bowl 1/3 cup mayonnaise and two tablespoons chopped kimchi, 2 cloves minced fresh garlic, some fresh lemon juice, and 1 minced green onion or some minced shallot. Or, sub capers, pickles or cornichons, and horseradish for the kimchi. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.
• Place a large heavy-bottom skillet with sides that go up at least 2 inches, such as cast iron, over medium-high heat. Pour enough oil into skillet so it reaches about 1 inch up sides. When oil is hot, it should be shimmering but not smoking. Test oil by carefully dropping a small piece of bread or flour in it; if it bubbles and floats to surface right away, it’s ready.
• Lightly season fillets with salt and pepper. Dredge fillets in reserved spiced flour mixture and carefully place in hot oil, let cook without disturbing so a nice crust forms on the bottom, about 2 minutes; check that bottom isn’t browning too quickly. Gently flip fish over and let cook another minute or so until golden and crispy. Note that cooking time will vary depending on thickness of fillet. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with salt. Toast bread and slather with kimchi mayo; add fried fish, lettuce, tomato, bacon, if desired.