Cooking Tamar River Cod
by Steve Suitor
Two of the most prevalent species present in the Tamar are Flathead and Cod.
Flathead has a firm white flesh which is excellent fare whether it be fried, grilled,BBQ or soused. While most cooks have little trouble presenting flathead in an attractive and appetising manner, a great many have trouble with cod.
Cod are a softer fleshed fish which require careful handling right from the time they are landed until they are placed on the plate. A great many Cod are ruined as a table fish before they are even cleaned.
Many fish are caught and left to die in the sun on jetties, others are piled on top of each other in buckets while others are left on hot boat decks. Fish treated in this manner by anglers will defeat even the most competent cook.
Cod for the table should be killed immediately the moment that they are caught. They should be promptly cleaned and washed one in salt water and left to drain.
Once they are thoroughly dry they should be refrigerated for 36 to 48 hours before being cooked.
Cod should never be washed again, soaked, marinated or allowed to get wet in any way after being refrigerated as this will soften them and cause them to break u when cooked.
To prepare for cooking coat fish in a mixture consisting of 1 cup of pain flour and ¼ cup of black pepper by shaking gently in a plastic bag or other container. Oil or fat should be heated to 190 degrees Celsius before fish are added.
Cooking time will depend on the size of the fish and whether fish are whole or filleted. Be careful not to overcook.
Fish up to 1 ½ kilograms are best for this method. Larger fish are better smoked or used as fishcakes.
Finally, Cod are plentiful and easily caught in the Tamar. They do not freeze well and keep much better in water so be selective in the fish you keep and take only the fish you can use in four or five days.
Cod will never be most people's first choice fish but properly treated they are a long way from the bottom of the list.