How To Cook Fish When Still Frozen

Alaskan cod with rutabaga and carrot

I have a fridge full of food right now…but it isn’t mine. My wife is on a new diet that is loaded with healthy fruits and vegetables, but also lots of FODMAPs. Which means I have to be selective in what I take from her section. What I was left with were some carrots and a lonely rutabaga (which is only low FODMAP in small portions) that I planned on roasting. I needed some protein and I also needed a break from all that salmon I’ve been eating. So a quick trip to a local health food market found me with a package of frozen Alaskan cod and a new idea: cooking the fish while it’s still frozen.

My whole life I was told to either put the fish in the fridge overnight to thaw (recommended), or you could get away with a quick thaw in the sink under some water (not officially recommended but guilty as charged). I don’t remember anyone I know cooking fish straight out of the freezer. Well, apparently you can, according to Alaska Seafood, and so I decided to give it a try.

I’ve only done this once before, with those delicious frozen dinners by Love The Wild. At the time I didn’t give it much thought, but why not? Why can’t you cook fish right out of the freezer.

Frozen Pacific Cod

I also get to try a sort-of new fish. I’ve never cooked Alaskan (Pacific) cod, because why would I? My hometown is synonymous with codfish, although I prefer haddock, and despite what the press often states, there is always local cod in our local markets.

Orca Bay Alaskan cod

One of the best parts of having this blog is that I have an excuse to get out of my seafood comfort zone and try new fish and new methods for the sake of you all: the readers. Where I’m from we are spoiled with great seafood all year long, so many of my friends and family are not that adventurous when it comes to trying unfamiliar species. Can’t really blame them, but I like to try new things and buyingseafood.com gives me the opportunity.

So now I have the chance to sample some frozen Alaskan cod from Orca Bay Seafoods (soon to be Orca Bay Foods). Although this is not necessarily a review of their product, Orca Bay impressed me with their wild, and domestically processed (product of USA) cod.

frozen alaskan cod

Out of the bag these fillets were rock solid and nearly pure white, I’m not used to seeing uncooked codfish as white as halibut. At $10 for 2 5oz portions it seems not too expensive as the main part of a dinner for two.

The Recipe: Low-FODMAP Baked Alaskan Cod – From Frozen

  • 2 Portions Frozen Cod (about 10oz. kept frozen)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sprigs of Fresh Dill
  • Juice from 1 Lemon

Pre-heat the oven to 450F. Take cod out of package but do not thaw. Rinse under cold water and pat dry, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook the fish for about 4 minutes before basting or adding topping. Continue cooking for a total of 15 minutes.

As it cooked I could hear all the water sizzling away and I have to admit, I was in doubt about the cooking time of about 15 minutes. Also, I’m not sure what constitutes a thick piece, but Alaska Seafood suggests thicker pieces cook longer. At a total of 10 ounces I’m betting these Alaskan cod fillets are not considered big pieces.

At 4 minutes I basted the fish in lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and fresh dill (grown in my mini-aquaponics setup) that I whisked up. I then proceeded to cook the fish for another 11 minutes. With 4 minutes left I basted again because nothing bad ever happens from over basting. I did notice that my glasses were covered in grease as if I were sauteing, so still plenty of water to evaporate I assumed. At the 15 minute mark they were not done and so I let them go another five.

The Verdict

Baked cod with butter lemon dill

I would normally cook this a little longer, maybe 25 minutes total, but it’s been a while since I cooked codfish and I was starving. It was much better than I expected and I have a feeling that cooking with all that water helped keep it moist, almost poached and I got a lot of good, clean, cod flavor.

Without the breadcrumbs, garlic, onions and the like, it was a low-FODMAP seafood dinner that took minimal effort. It’s safe to say that the next time I buy cod it will be local, but if you don’t have a local source, Orca Bay Alaskan Cod is a quality product.

As far as cooking fish from frozen, I think I will still be thawing mine out, but I’m sure glad to know there is a pretty good method of cooking fish straight from the freezer. No longer fret it you didn’t take the fish out in time, just follow the instructions over at Alaska Seafood to learn how to use your favorite cooking techniques with still-frozen fish!

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