Time to use an often discarded ingredient. Learn how to cook a cod head, and a great recipe on how to serve it.
Time to learn how to cook a cod head. It’s not hard and it really is delicious but most importantly it is a waste to throw out such a big part of a fish. So why not cook and eat it?
Why cook a cod head
There are many reasons to why it’s great to cook a cod head.
You already paid for it – If you buy a whole fish the head is often still on it. You are paying just as much for the head as you are for the rest of the fish so why not use it?
It’s a learning experience – It’s not super nice to split a cod head in two. But if you never done it you should. It will in a weird way make you respect your ingredients more, especially when something had to die because of your dinner.
It tastes great – The meat you’ll find in the head really tastes great. It has a meatier texture than regular fillet and lots of flavor.
It will impress your snobby foodie friends – Food nerds and chefs love any ingredient that grosses people out and is often overlooked. Serving up a cod head to your foodie friends will impress them much more than just searing some old steak.
So let’s do this.
Cod Head – Splitting and trimming
You can cook the head in several ways but I’m only going to show you how I did it. It is one of the easiest ways so don’t worry. First get your cod head ready.
Then get out a sharp serrated knife. Then saw the head in two parts straight down the middle. Once this is done it is time to remove a few things. Behind each eye is a soft part that I’m guessing is the brain. It’s white and soft and has a different texture to raw fish. Remove that. Now I’m sure there’s some chef out there screaming to himself “What, remove the cod brain?! That’s the best part of the cod!”. But hey, call me weak.
Next it’s time to remove the eyes and gills. This is easiest done using a sharp pointed scissors. The eyes need to be cut out so cut a few snips around each eye and you’ll get them out easy.
Lastly remove the gills. Here the easiest way is to cut them off using the scissor. Then rinse each side of the head in cold water.
Now we’ve got a rinsed cod head ready to be cooked. But you could also cut out each part if you want to use in a different way. I prefer to cook the head whole and then pick off all the meaty parts or serve the head cooked on the bone.
Now all you need is a way to serve this, luckily I have that as well. Keep reading for the recipe.
Baked Cod Head with Grapefruit, Herb Salt and Onion
1 cod head, prepared according to instructions above
1 red onion
2 handfuls of mixed herbs, parsley, chives, thyme, cress
2 tbsp salt
Drizzle the cod head with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the cod head in the oven at about 120°C / 240°F for about 20-30 minutes. You want the meat just cooked. In my oven it took almost 30 minutes. You can check the meat with a thin knife, once it slides through the meat easily you are good to go.
Peel the grapefruit with a knife and cut out the fillets. Peel and slice the onion.
In a small mixer mix the herbs with the salt into a rough herbs salt.
Remove the cod head from the oven. Using a spoon or your hands pick out all the white meat from the head. That means anything soft and meaty, you’ve already removed any other parts. What is left is only skin, bone or meat.
Arrange the pieces of cod with the grapefruit, onion and herb salt on a plate and serve.
You can also serve the head on it’s own and let your guests do the picking, this is especially encouraged if you’re having snobby foodies visiting. Good luck.