Coconut Milk Poached Cod with Spinach and Fresno Peppers

Coconut Poached Cod

Are you afraid to cook fish? A lot of people I know are. They tell me that it falls apart after sticking to the grill or it turns out like rubber. During this Lenten season when many are eating fish on Fridays, I hope these Zestuous fish recipes will encourage you to try another go at preparing fish.

This recipe for Coconut Milk Poached Cod has no fishy taste. It’s served in a Fresno pepper coconut milk broth with spinach and a hint of lime zest, and is ready in about 15 minutes.

Types of Fish

Mild and Unfishy

If you don’t like fish because you’ve tried some that taste and smell really fishy, try a whitefish instead. Most whitefish like cod, halibut, mahi mahi and sea bass are very mild. Cod is what’s often used in fish sticks, which even finicky kids love. Sea bass and halibut have a rich, buttery taste, so they are a little more expensive, but so worth it.

High in Omega 3

If you choose a red fish like salmon or tuna, you’ll get the added benefits of higher Omega 3s, which are great for your heart. These fish are a little more firm and do have a hint of fish flavor, but they are meaty and satisfying.


I am not a fan of mackerel or sardines. They’re high in Omega 3s, too, but they definitely have a more fishy taste. In fact, mackerel patties remind me of cat food, not something I want to eat. If you’re not a fish fan, I recommend passing on these varieties.


If you still aren’t comfortable with eating Nemo, try shellfish, such as shrimp, crab or lobster. They’re pricier, but very mild and versatile. Some people don’t like shellfish because of the texture. If you marinade them in acid like lemon juice or cook them too long, they will get mealy and rubbery. Instead, skip the marinade. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook them just until they turn pink and add the lemon juice and butter at the end.

How to Cook Fish

Grilling? Leave it Alone!

The most important tip when grilling fish is to oil the filet; put it on the grill and leave it alone. In about 5-6 minutes, it will get a nice sear and will release on its own, so you can flip it. If you try to flip it too soon, it will stick. I promise.

Baking? Wrap it Up!

If you want fish that’s not dried out, wrap it in parchment paper or cook it in a covered dish. This keeps the moisture locked in, so the fish is nice and flaky.  Just be sure the other ingredients in your pouch or baking dish will be ready in 15 minutes, too. Fish cooks fast.

Frying? Beer Please!

A mixture of 1 bottle of beer and 1 ½ cups of flour makes the perfect batter every time. Dunk the seasoned fish in the batter and fry in one-inch of 350-degree oil. Serve it with malted vinegar or tartar sauce and another bottle of beer.

No Matter the Method – Make it Fast

Fish cooks super fast. Honestly, it’s ready in 10-15 minutes. If you cook it longer, it turns rubbery. Grilling takes about 5 minutes per side. You can bake filets in about 15 minutes. Or fry your beer-battered filets in less than 10 minutes.

Here are a few recipes to get you started:


Orange Habanero Fish
en Papillote

Orange Habanero Fish Filet with Orange Garlic Wild Rice from Zestuous

Salmon, Kale & Sweet Potatoes

Baked Super Foods: Salmon, Kale & Sweet Potatoes from Zestuous

Tuna Tetrazzini

Tuna in Pan


Grilled Chilean Sea Bass
Fish Tacos

Fish Taco Top

Grilled Tuna Salad

Grilled Tuna Salad

Tabasco Grilled Shrimp

Low Country Grits with Seasonal Roasted Mushrooms and Tabasco Grilled Shrimp

On the Stove

Fish and Chips

Cod Filets

Coconut Milk
Poached Cod

<Coconut Milk Poached Cod with Spinach and Fresno Peppers from Zestuous

Bacon Scallops and Hollandaise


Coconut Milk Poached Cod with Spinach and Fresno Peppers

Yield: 4 servings

Coconut Milk Poached Cod with Spinach and Fresno Peppers


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 Fresno peppers
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk (about 1 ¾ cups)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 cod filets
  • salt and white pepper
  • 4 cups spinach

Dice the peppers, zest the lime and cut the lime in half.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the peppers and lime zest, until tender, about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, juice from half a lime and ½ tsp. salt. Bring to a boil. Sprinkle salt and white pepper on each side of the cod filets. Gently place the filets into the broth. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the fish flakes.

Remove the filets from the broth and place each in a wide soup bowl.

Add the spinach to the skillet. Continue cooking until the spinach is tender. Squeeze the juice from the other half of the lime into the skillet and stir to combine. Evenly spoon the broth into each bowl.


  • Risa says:

    My family loved this. I used spinach and Swiss chard. They said it was the tastiest dish we’ve we’ve had in a while.

  • Ellen M Darnell says:

    I made this yesterday with Swau fillets. The first dish was great! I splut the remaining three fillets apart, froze two and saved one for today. I servef ut over brown rice. I MUST tell you! It was GAR better the second day! The flavors melded into this amazing taste abd a quick reheat kept the fish firm. Soooooo good! I used pasilla pepper because of the heat but next time will amp the heat because it was too little. I will post when i unfreeze. My understanding with milk based is let it defrost, the n liw and slow to.prevent curdling any more advice. An amazing, inexpensive, healthy dinner. I tracked calories and got less than 350 a bowl even with brown rice quarter cup each fillet. So filling so good. Post more of these gems please!!

  • Mary says:

    This was absolutely delicious. My husband came home with three surf perch. What an absolute treat. We didn’t have spinach so we made it without and just used the green Chiles we had on hand. It was gone in five minutes!

  • Jeanette says:

    Just made this for dinner tonight. Lovely, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Hannah says:

    This was absolutely delicious. I used jalapeño instead of fresno, and tilapia instead of cod. I adjusted the cooking time to about 3 minutes per side, as tilapia cooks fast. This was almost like a soup and it’s so yummy, comforting, and filling. It has minimal seasoning which works and let’s the flavors of everything shine. It’s almost like something you’d find in a fancy resturaunt! I will definitely be making this again.

  • jocelyn says:

    Las craving for fish with coconut few days ago. I Google it and indeed up with your recipe. I added 1tbsp of ginger and spicy jalapeno on it and saute the fish first with the ingredients before adding tje chicken broth and coxonut milk.the result is great. My neq favorite recipe now. My husband loved it and his new favorite too.

  • Ann says:

    Really good even with lemon & red bell pepper!! Real real good 🙂

  • I insulted Google for “milk-poached cod” and this came up! I love your recipe and explanation of all things fishy!

  • Holly says:

    Excellent! Delicious idea and great with rice as an addition.

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