Have you ever seen a lingcod? They are almost primeval looking, with huge, gaping mouths and sharp teeth. As with any fish, the most important factor for how good it tastes is its freshness.
I picked up this fillet at Whole Foods (they usually have a good selection of fresh fish) where they told me that the lingcod had just come in that morning. With this lemon-garlic butter sauce it was divine.
What Is Lingcod and What Does it Taste Like?
Lingcod is a type of fish found in the West Coast of North America, all the way from the Gulf of Alaska down to Baja California, Mexico.
It may be an ugly-looking fish, but don't hold that against it. It's delicious! It's a lean fish that firms up and turns opaque white when cooked. It's dense, mild and slightly sweet in flavor, reminiscent of lobster.
How to Choose the Best Lingcod
Lingcod fillets should be bluish green in color when raw. If it looks grey, it's probably not fresh. If you're lucky enough to live near a Chinese or other Asian market with a fresh fish section, you can have them filet it for you fresh from the tank. Otherwise, it's usually available in the fresh fish sections of most major supermarkets.
Swaps and Substitutions
- Don't have clam juice? You can easily swap it out for a chicken or vegetable stock.
- If you don't have any sherry around, dry white wine or dry white vermouth will work.
- As much as we love lingcod, you can easily substitute any other meaty white fish, like halibut, swai, pollock, sea bass, or cod.
- Use minced scallions for the shallots.
- Freshly ground black pepper works here if you don't have white pepper.
Other Sauces and Seasonings for Lingcod
Lingcod is such a mild fish that it's great for any kind of sauce and seasoning. For a healthier alternative when basil is in season, you can top it with a Fresh Basil Pesto. During cooler months, a Sun-dried Tomato Pesto is also a delicious topping.
You can also top it off with Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce, which comes together in just 15 minutes.
More Seafood Recipes to Try!
- Grilled Shrimp With Lemon Pepper Couscous
- Shrimp Cakes
- Quick Easy Fish Stew
- Fresh Salmon Salad
- Grilled Swordfish Steaks With Lemon Oregano Marinade
Baked Lingcod with Lemon-Garlic Butter Sauce
If you don't have lingcod, you can use any firm white fish. Other fish that wold be nice here include: redfish, walleye, catfish, rock cod, haddock, pollock, cod, or black sea bass.
The sauce recipe makes 1-1/2 cups, about twice as much as you'll need. Refrigerate what's left over, and consider using it as a topping for potatoes or vegetables.
- Lemon-Garlic Butter Sauce:
- 1/2 cup clam juice, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 2-tablespoon pieces
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 pounds lingcod fillets
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
Prepare the sauce:
Reduce the sauce mixture:
Put the clam juice, sherry, whole milk, garlic, shallots, and bay leaf in a pot and bring to a boil. Boil it down by half.
Make a roux in a separate saucepan:
In a separate saucepan (1-qt minimum), prepare the roux. Heat one tablespoon of butter in the saucepan on medium heat until it is foamy. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir for a couple of minutes with a metal whisk until well mixed. Cook until the color is tan, but not brown.
Slowly whisk the sauce into the roux:
Slowly add the reduced sauce mixture to the roux, stirring quickly to incorporate. When you first add some of the mixture, the roux will bubble up. Just keep pouring and keep whisking to incorporate.
Whisk in the butter:
Turn the heat to low. Slowly whisk in the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.
Add the lemon juice and seasonings:
Add lemon juice, salt, and white pepper. Add some more clam juice or water if the sauce is too thick.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley right before serving.
Prepare the fish:
Preheat the oven:
Move the oven rack so that the baking pan will be 4 to 5 inches from the heat. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prep the fish fillets:
Rinse the fish in cold water. Cut into serving pieces if necessary. Remove any bones with fish-bone tweezers or (spotlessly clean) pliers. Lay the fish flat in a foil-lined baking pan.
Rub some olive oil over both sides of the lingcod, enough to coat. Sprinkle both sides with a few shakes of salt and pepper.
Bake the fish:
Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, until just done.
To test, use the tip of a knife to gently cut into the thickest part of the fillet. The fish is done when the fish has just turned from translucent to opaque at the center. Once you pull the fish out of the oven, it will continue to cook for a few minutes.
Serve the fish with the sauce poured on top. Rice, crusty bread and a simple salad are good accompaniments.