Oven Baked (or Roasted) Cod with Feta, Lemon and Dill on Spinach is quick and easy to prepare, delicious and beautiful on the plate. What more could you ask for? Well, it’s healthy, too!
How to Bake Cod
I love this dish because it’s naturally healthy and full of fresh flavors. It also only takes around 10 minutes to prepare, then 10 minutes to cook, so you can have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less. Yay! Great for those super busy weekdays. Fresh cod fillets are topped with lemon zest, chopped dill and crumbled feta cheese and then roasted. They are served atop a bed of sautéed garlic-y spinach that is spiked with breadcrumbs and red pepper flakes – to add a bit of crunch and spice. The breadcrumbs also absorb some of the moisture in the spinach, so it doesn’t come out watery.
Lemon and dill are excellent complements to almost any fish, and they pair well with both the spinach and cod in this dish. If you aren’t a garlic eater, you can substitute shallots. Serve with brown rice and/or quinoa.
Yes, you can use frozen cod in this recipe. I would thaw it first, and dry it on paper towel before proceeding
Definitely! Ask your fishmonger for suggested substitutions based on what they have available. To help, here is a list of fish that fall into the same category, based on the fact they are also lean with mild flavor:
– Striped bass
– Halibut (Californian not Atlantic, as the latter is endangered)
The general guideline for baking virtually any fish is 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness (at its thickest point). If it has a topping or bread coating, then it can take longer – around 10 to 12 minutes total cook time.
It depends completely on the recipe. For fish that has a topping or coating (like breadcrumbs), most often you will want that topping/coating to crisp up, which means you should bake it with the fish uncovered. There are other recipes where the fish may stay more moist if covered. (Note: the standard in professional recipe writing is, if the recipe doesn’t specify covered or uncovered, you should assume it will be cooked uncovered.)
Fish is done when the internal temperature in the middle of the thickest part reaches 135 to 140 degrees on an instant read thermometer. It will keep cooking after you take it out of the oven, so let it rest for around 5 minutes before serving. For cod it will be tender, opaque and flaky.
Store leftover baked cod in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a 275 to 325 degree oven for around 10 to 15 minutes, or until warmed through. If you reheat it covered with foil, the fish is less likely to dry out, but your topping may be less crispy. If you reheat it uncovered, the topping will stay crispy but the fish might dry out a bit. Your choice!
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A naturally healthy main dish that is quick and easy to prepare, full of flavor and colorful on the plate.
- 4 (6-ounce) individual cod fillets or 1 (1 1/2-pound) whole fillet
- 1 tablespoon lemon-flavored (or regular) olive oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing baking dish
- 5 large green onions, chopped (white, light green and some dark green part)
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, or more to taste – can also use shallots
- 15 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs, preferably Panko
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, optional
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9 by 12-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Place cod fillet(s) in prepared dish and brush with lemon olive oil. Evenly sprinkle feta cheese, lemon zest and dill on top.
- Roast in the oven, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes per 1-inch of thickness (at its thickest point), until opaque and just cooked through.
- Switch the heat to broil and broil for 2 minutes to melt and lightly brown some of the cheese. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!
- While the fish is cooking, in a large sauté pan or skillet, heat 2 teaspoons regular extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add green onions, garlic and around half of the spinach. Cook, stirring, just until the spinach is wilted. Add remaining spinach and continue to cook, stirring, just until wilted.
- Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs and red pepper flakes (if using); season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide cooked spinach among four serving plates. Top with cod fillet. Serve immediately.
Gluten free: Use gluten free breadcrumbs.
Make ahead: fish can be prepared but not baked earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Tip: Check out my tips for buying and storing fresh fish!