Walnut-Crusted Cod with Lemon and Herbs


This flavorful fish dish is full of healthy fats. Instead of a flour-based crust, I made a paste made of raw walnuts, garlic, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. It's easy and fast to prepare.

I used wild Alaskan cod, but wild Alaskan halibut would also be good. Or you can use this topping with baked or broiled clams. Vegetarians can crumble it over portabella mushroom caps before they broil them.

I picked walnuts because they are highest in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats but you could substitute another raw nut, like almonds or pine nuts. I used fresh herbs from my window garden, a combination of oregano, rosemary, and thyme, but you can use any herbs you like.

The nut mixture can be made in advance for fast and easy meal preparation. If you want, make extra topping and store it tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for several months.

  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 organic lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, not tightly packed but not loosely either
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
  • Extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 pound wild Alaskan cod fillets at room temperature

  1. In a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, grind together until smooth the walnuts, lemon zest, herbs, and a pinch each of sea salt and ground pepper. Add the butter and mix again until the ingredients stick together.
  2. Place a small amount of olive oil on the bottom of a baking pan. Season the skin side of the fish fillets with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and place them skin-side down inside the pan. Distribute the nut mixture evenly over the top of the fish fillets, smoothing with a rubber scraper if you wish.
  3. Broil the walnut-crusted cod until the tops are browned, about 5 minutes, then turn off the broiler. Allow the fish to rest inside for five minutes or more, allowing them to finish cooking with residual heat so they don't become tough and over-cooked.
  4. Serve immediately with a colorful salad.


JRae said…
Hi Dr. Sarah!

I have a gas stove with a bottom-loading broiler slot (it's not even a drawer). Do you think I could do this fish in the bottom of the broiler pan that came with the oven and just leave the top slotted part off? If so, should I put the pan in the top, middle, or bottom slot under the broiler?
I'm not familiar with that kind of oven but heat from the bottom will not brown the top. Instead I would just bake for about 10 minutes at 350F. The top may not get as brown but it will still be delicious.
JRae said…
Ok, thanks!

I may have described my broiler poorly. It's just the kind that is a drawer/slot underneath the gas oven. The heat does come from the top, but I must use the broiler pan/rack that came with the oven in order to use it. It seems like most people nowadays have an oven with a broiler setting so they can use whatever pans and racks and distance away from the broiler that they want, but I'm limited to the broiler pan that came with the oven...

I think I'm gonna try broiling it and just removing the top slitted par of the broiler pan (even though you're not supposed to because the grease can catch fire). Hopefully the fish won't ooze enough fat/oils to catch fire!
I think we have the same kind of oven. I just put the fish in a shallow baking pan and place it on top of the broiler pan already inside the oven. I never use the broiler pan that came with the oven for food, just as a surface to put shallow baking pans on top of. It works great that way and it's easier to clean baking pans than that broiling tray. Good luck!
JRae said…
Oh ok, hahaha! I wasn't thinking out of the box..
JRae said…
Ok, last night I just used a pyrex baking dish and placed it on top of the broiler pan set at the lowest height. It worked perfectly and was delicious! Don't know why I thought that wouldn't work! Thanks Sarah! :)