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Healthy Recipes:Crusted Cod with Hot Paprika

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from the American Institute for Cancer Research

Add some healthy zest to your menu with this unique fish dish. The spicy crispy crust offers a nice contrast to the mild flavor and moist flesh of cod.

One of the most common and versatile fish – often used in such favorites as fish and chips – cod belongs to the family Gadidae. They possess a chameleon-like quality as they change color at certain depths, ranging from grey-green to reddish brown. Most cod average 10 to 25 pounds, but they can weigh up to 200 pounds and be 6 feet in length. Although they belong to the same family, haddock and whiting are not cod – some fish markets, though, sell them as cod. No matter, you still get great taste and nutritional value. Cod are rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D.

The smoked hot paprika gives this week’s recipe some mild heat. Although paprika is frequently used to add color, it also adds spiciness, ranging from delicate to hot. Hungarian chefs even have six classifications for paprika. Processors of paprika achieve this complexity by using a variety of peppers to make it, ranging from sweet red bell peppers to the milder chile peppers.

Paprika can deteriorate quickly, so only purchase small quantities and keep in airtight containers in a dry cool place away from sunlight. This will ensure that it is perfect for this dish because it releases its color and flavor when heated.

The fresh cilantro is slightly citrusy and with the parsley offers a cooling balance to the paprika. A touch of saffron, which has been described as tasting like the sea, imparts a subtle bitter taste. The result is a flavorful healthy dish. So enjoy the baked crispy nature of this old favorite with a unique twist.

Crusted Cod

Crusted Cod with Hot Paprika

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 –six-ounce fillets Pacific Cod
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into thin rings
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. smoked, hot paprika
  • 1 pinch saffron threads (1/8 tsp)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 5 ounces whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon, halved

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat bottom of large baking dish with cooking spray.

Rinse and dry cod and place in baking dish. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Cook onion and tomato over moderate heat in 1 tablespoon oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley, garlic, paprika, saffron, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until mixture is red throughout and almost turns into a paste, about 7-10 minutes. Add breadcrumbs. Toss and add 3 tablespoons oil.

Spoon breadcrumb mixture evenly over fish. Bake for about 20 minutes or until crumbs are golden and fish is flaky and opaque.

Gently transfer fish to serving plates. Squeeze lemon over each fillet and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 390 calories, 16 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 23 g carbohydrate,
36 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 250 mg sodium.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $87 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund InternationalThis link will open in a new window..

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