My latest freestyle with cod loin might be my best freestyle yet.
The art of the sheet pan meal is a simple one: choose a protein and a veggie bed that bake for roughly the same amount of time in the oven. Since fish is quick-cooking (and since Charlie no longer eats meat) it’s been the star of the show for much of the summer, paired with crunchy, gorgeous vegetables from the Farmer’s Market.
I try not to overbuy our local East coast cod since it’s been dwindling in the wild for the last decade, but recently it’s looked too beautiful and fresh in the case to pass up. It’s also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and B12, which this HashiPosse gal will take any day.
For this baked cod recipe I prefer using the loins since they are fairly thick and don’t take up too much room on the sheet pan. If you buy fillets instead, look for ones on the larger, thicker side so they don’t overcook and/or crowd the veggies.
I’ve offered some suggestions below on different vegetables you can use as the base – pretty much anything seasonal this time of year would work: snap peas, zucchini, summer squash, Bok choy, peppers, etc. The combination of wax beans and radishes was perfect when caramelized in the sauce.
One of the things that makes this recipe so foolproof is the miso-red curry combination, which I adapted from an old recipe of Heidi Swanson’s. Her cookbook Super Natural Everyday is one of my favorite vegetarian resources and in it she uses this miso-red curry mixture on roasted winter squash and potatoes. Needless to say, if you wanted to make this sheet pan meal a vegetarian one and omit the cod altogether, it would still taste delicious.
You’ll want to look for fresh white miso paste in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. This fermented food originated in China but is perhaps most ubiquitous today in Japanese cooking. For those who are sensitive to soy, there are some miso varieties made from chickpeas or azuki beans that have a similar salty, nutty flavor. Feel free to use any jarred miso in this recipe.
I would have never thought to combine miso with Thai red curry paste, but the fusion works beautifully. The red chiles, ginger, lemongrass and other spices in the curry paste become more subtle, salty and creamy when mixed together with the miso. It tastes great as a dressing on its own, but develops even more umami when baked in the oven.
Since cooking any fermented food reduces the beneficial bacteria, I like to save a little of the marinade and give the fish one last drizzle of it before serving it over white rice, which can always handle a little extra sauce for soaking.
Read on for this healthy baked cod loin recipe and all the ways you can adapt it to whatever summer seafood and veggies you have on hand, should you want a freestyle of your own!
With health and hedonism,
Baked Cod Loin with Summer Vegetables and Miso-Red Curry Sauce
This baked cod loin recipe is the perfect sheet pan meal. The miso-red curry sauce is just three ingredients but radiates so much flavor. It's inspired by a recipe for miso squash in Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday. You can use any summer vegetables as the base so long as they have a relatively quick cooking time. In addition to the wax beans and radishes, you could use bok choy, snap peas, zucchini, leeks or corn. If you can't find cod at the market, this would also be excellent with salmon, striped bass, or any other medium-thickness fish.
- 1 pound French green beans or wax beans snipped
- 1 bunch radishes scrubbed and halved
- 1 bunch scallions white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 1 lime
- 2 pounds cod loins or thick cod fillets
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On the prepared pan, toss the green beans, radishes and white scallions with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Arrange in an even layer and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to shrivel.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce: in a small mixing bowl or 2-cup measure, whisk together the miso, red curry paste, lime juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Remove the pan from the oven and toss the veggies with the green scallions and half of the red curry mixture until well-coated. Return to an even layer and nestle the cod loins in the veggies so they are touching the bottom of the pan. Season the fish with salt and slather with the remaining marinade so it’s fully coated in every nook and cranny.
- Return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the vegetables are caramelized and tender. Serve immediately over white rice or more veggies.