Winters can be long in the Pacific Northwest, where Mercury Pro Team member Rob Endsley, an Alaska charter boat captain (princeofwalessportfishing.com), former river guide and host of the Seattle-based radio show “Outdoor Line,” and his family live. And these long winters gives Rob plenty of opportunity to create new and exciting ways to prepare the various species of fish native to the area.
One of Rob and his family’s all-time favorites is lingcod. Lingcod, also known as buffalo cod or cultus cod, is a bottomfish that lives along the Pacific Coast, from northern Mexico to Alaska and beyond. Lingcod is a mild fish, similar to halibut or cod, known for its firm texture, that when cooked becomes light, flaky and exquisite.
While lingcod is often battered and deep fried, Rob is bypassing the fryer this time for something a little lighter but every bit as tasty. Using a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, Rob sears the lingcod fillets, resulting in a gorgeous golden-brown crust on the outside and moist, succulent meat in the inside. Rob then tops the fish with a creamy, lemon butter and garlic sauce, made from scratch, of course. It’s simple, delicious, healthy, affordable and will satisfy even the most fickle of diners.
- 2 serving-sized lingcod fillets
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, minces
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
To make the sauce, place a skillet over medium heat and add the butter and minced garlic, allowing them to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the juice of one lemon and simmer for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
Then, season the sauce with a little sea salt and cracked pepper. With your ingredients continuing to simmer, slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of heavy cream and stir evenly. Add the capers and continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
Note: If you prefer, you can substitute fresh parsley for the capers. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
With your sauce completed, transfer it into a small serving bowl and set aside, covering if you like.
Now it’s time to cook the fish. Begin by heating up a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet. After adding a little sea salt and pepper to one side of the fillets, add them to the pan, seasoned side down. With your lingcod in the pan, season the topside with a little more salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
When your fillets have achieved a nice golden-brown crust, it’s time to place them on your serving plates. Spoon some of the creamy lemon-butter garlic sauce on top of each fillet. Because of the light mild flavor, you can pair the lingcod with any number of sides – from a simple salad of mixed greens to a rice or risotto dish.