Whenever I am asked for cooking advice, be it for someone who’s just learning to cook or someone who’s cooked for years but has hit a recipe rut, one of my biggest tips is to start with something simple and healthy—like Baked Cod—master it, then use it to create different recipe spinoffs so that your meals stay exciting and your recipe repertoire grows.
It’s common sense (as good advice often is), but when you are used to cooking the same thing over and over, it can be hard to see a recipe any other way—including when your full-time job is coming up with recipes!
Case-in-point: I have long loved and frequently make baked fish for dinner. It’s easy, it’s healthy, and Ben and I both adore it.
When I think of baked fish, however, my brain gets stuck on my go-to Baked Salmon in Foil. It’s a fantastic recipe, and one that you can change up in numerous ways to keep it fresh (Spicy Baked Salmon, Grilled Salmon in Foil, and Lemon Pepper Salmon are just a few suggestions).
It’s about time I take my own advice and change up baked cod, beyond thinking of oven baked cod in foil!
Enter this baked cod with tomatoes and fennel!
While on its face, this baked cod recipe is simple, the finishes around it make it superb.
This healthy baked cod recipe is ready in less than 40 minutes, is super good for you, and it has a beautiful blend of Italian flavors and ingredients.
It will delight and surprise you in a way that you might not think a fish as humble as cod is capable of dong.
5 Star Review
“I made this for dinner tonight, and it was amazing! Even my picky kids were asking when we can have it again. Tastes like a meal from a nice restaurant with very little effort.”— Elizabeth —
How to Make the Most Delicious Baked Cod with Vegetables
As a nod to my favorite fresh ingredients, I baked the cod with juicy tomatoes and herbs.
Since cherry tomatoes taste quite decent year-round, so you can make baked cod with tomatoes in any season.
- Cod. If you haven’t tried it before, cod is a firm, fairly mild fish. Because it doesn’t have a strong taste, it’s great for people who don’t like “fishy” fish. It also can take on the flavors of whatever you put with it.
- Lemon. Making baked cod with lemon is classic, and for a good reason (I also used this combo in my Fish en Papillote). The lemon brightens up the cod and makes it taste its best; I can’t imagine cod without it.
- Tomatoes. I love fresh cherry tomatoes in this recipe, and they taste great year-round.
- Yellow Onion. It caramelizes with the tomatoes and becomes jammy, crispy in places, and sweet.
- Fennel. Raw fennel tastes like licorice (and I am not much of a fan). Sautéed and roasted fennel, however, is a completely different tale. I like the depth it gives the baked cod. If you prefer not to use fennel, you can simply leave it out.
- White Wine. Splash in some for the cod; save the rest for dinner!
- Capers. Briny, salty, and a DELISH, instant way to elevate your cooking. Try adding a few tablespoons to some of your favorite Italian recipes.
- Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper Flakes. Baked cod with salt and pepper is delicious, and the red pepper flakes add a hint of heat.
- Dry and season the cod.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the top.
- Arrange the cod in a baking dish.
- Saute the vegetables with the wine and capers. Add to the baking dish with the cod.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. This cod should be cooked at 375 degrees F.
How to Tell When Cod is Done
You know the cod is done when it flakes easily with a fork at the thickest part.
You can also use an instant read thermometer like this one to check the temperature of the fish. It’s done when it reaches 145 degrees F.
For each serving, I like to plate the cod fillet first, then spoon the vegetable mixture and any juices that collect in the pan over and around it.
A finishing shower of fresh herbs makes the cod look pretty and fresh, and it adds more flavor.
Serve the cod with a fruity, crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. I like to use the same wine to cook the fish as I do to serve with it.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days. I like to store the fish and veggies separately for easier reheating.
- To Reheat. To avoid drying out the fish, rewarm it in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F until heated through. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to wake the flavors back up. You can also reheat this dish very gently in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove. The vegetables can be warmed in the oven, on the stove, or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. I have found that fish doesn’t taste as good once it’s been frozen and reheated, but if you find yourself with leftovers, you can try to freeze it. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Recommended Tools to Make Baked Cod
- Baking Dish. This one is the perfect size for this recipe, and it’s beautiful!
- Citrus Juicer. My #1 tip for juicing lemons and limes with ease.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best way to ensure that your fish is cooked through.
I hope to take my own advice and make many versions of this baked cod in the future…as soon as I get tired of this particular iteration, which hasn’t happened yet
If you try this Italian baked cod, please leave a comment to let me know how it came out. Your comments and 5-star reviews make my day and help the site too!
- 4 6-ounce cod fillets
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion sliced
- 1 bulb fennel quartered, core cut away, thinly sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons capers drained
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus additional to taste
- Chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, or thyme, for serving
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13 or similarly sized baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Pat the cod dry. Arrange in the baking dish, and season with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Squeeze the lemon over the top.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, fennel, tomatoes, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes until the onions and fennel are tender and the tomatoes begin to break down. Add the white wine. Let the wine reduce for 1 minute, then add the capers and red pepper flakes.
- Spoon the tomato-fennel mixture around the cod. Place in the oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Serve hot.
- TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. I prefer to store the cod and vegetables separately for easy reheating.
- TO REHEAT: To avoid drying out the fish, rewarm it in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F until heated through. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to wake the flavors back up. You can also reheat this dish very gently in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove. The vegetables can be warmed in the oven, on the stove, or in the microwave.
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