By Christie Vanover | Published March 18, 2014 | Last Updated December 28, 2022
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:
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.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
C Deke says
Wow, just wow! We’ve been looking for a new recipe to serve fish more often. Not only did this hit the mark it set a new standard for our expectations. This dish was a colossal high bar setting hit! Jumped to the front of the line to serve for dinner guests. Not only was it a fantastic combination of flavors the presentation is wonderful. We had trouble finding Fresno peppers but substituted jalapeños and added some red pepper for color. Beautiful and flavorful.
I just made this since I was looking for a low calorie fish dish. What a combination of yummy flavors. I didn’t have any fresno peppers so I used 1 jalapeno and two thai chilli peppers. I also used talapia since it was in the freezer. I will definitely make this again. My husband is cleaning up the dishes and drinking the broth that was left. I’d say it was a hit!!
Christie Vanover says
Awe thanks. Best compliment ever 🙂
Loved this recipe. We served it with quinoa/brown Rice with a hint of curry flavour.
Family rave review: we must have this again!
Thanks for sharing
I had an overload of Fresno peppers in my garden this summer and was online looking for recipes to try to use them all (other than making hot sauce). Made this recipe tonight and it was fabulous! My husband and I both loved it! Made it as listed int he recipe (other than I added slivered red onions in the sauté of peppers and lime zest and served sprinkled with sriracha and green onions). It is a beautiful dish on the plate…and so tasty! Definitely making again…and next time I will add even more spinach. Thank you!!
Christie Vanover says
You’re so lucky to have such a green thumb. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Rachel Harper says
This is a huge hit at my house!! I tried with salmon instead of white fish and we loved that too. Thanks for sharing.
Christie Vanover says
So happy to hear you enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.
b hews says
horrible recipe, chicken broth water down the coconut flavor
Christie Vanover says
Horrible? Everyone else who has tried it has loved it, and it continues to be a fave at our house. Maybe you were expecting it to be creamier. This dish is meant to be more like a coconut broth. I also recommend using full fat coconut cream. Light coconut cream will water it down. Sorry it didn’t meet your expectations.
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.
Hi Risa, I’m so glad to hear it. Thanks for sharing.
Selena Bowling says
This was an excellent recipe! Thanks for sharing…our family loved it ❤
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!!
I love that you used brown rice. Your reheat method sounds spot on.
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!
Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Just made this for dinner tonight. Lovely, thanks so much for sharing!
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.
What a nice review. Thank you so much, Hannah. I’m really glad you liked it, and that you made the recipe your own.
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.
Really good even with lemon & red bell pepper!! Real real good 🙂
Nikki @ Nik Snacks says
I insulted Google for “milk-poached cod” and this came up! I love your recipe and explanation of all things fishy!
I made this today, no Fresno pepper so used 1 serrano and 1 jalapeno (half recipe). Pretty simple recipe but very tasty.
Excellent! Delicious idea and great with rice as an addition.