Cod

Species Information

Cod is “the fish” in Iceland. It is by far the most important marine resource in Icelandic waters. Its economic importance has only briefly been surpassed by herring in the 20th century. The cod is a large, rather fast growing fish and therefore has great impact on other marine species in Icelandic waters. The evolution of the fish processing industry has also primarily been because of the cod. The cod fisheries have, therefore, shaped Icelandic society for centuries.

The fish is caught all around Iceland throughout the year, but the greatest catches are taken in March/April and again in June/July. Spawning takes place in late winter and early spring, mainly off the southwest coast of the country. The growing grounds are in the nutrient-rich waters off the northwest coast, where the warm Gulf Stream of the Atlantic meets the cold Polar stream, and also along the north and east coasts. The main catching methods are by bottom trawls, long-line fishing, gillnets, and jigging. The most common age at catch is 4-7 years, and the weight is 2-5 kg. (4-10 lbs.), but larger fish are also caught.

Cooking & Handling

When working with frozen cod fillets, tempering is better than completely thawing. It limits drip loss and permits more consistent portion cutting and greater yield.

Breaded and battered portions should always be cooked from a frozen state. Because it is so lean, cod cooks quickly. Cod have a mild flavor and work well with rich sauces and strong flavors. It should be cooked to an internal temperature range of 140°F–160°F.

Cod is a good source of low-fat protein, phosphorus, niacin, and vitamin B12.

Try cod dishes with flavors such as arugula, bacon, bay leaf, butter, capers, celery, celery root, cranberry, cream, dill, lemon, mustard, potato, shallot, thyme, tomato and white wine.

Cooking Methods

Bake, Broil, Fry, Sauté, Steam

Global Supply

Canada, Iceland, Norway, Russia, United Kingdom, United States

Seasonal Availability

Fresh & frozen available year-round

Did You Know?

The Georges Bank stock is the most southerly cod stock in the world.

The color of cod can change depending on bottom habitats.

Scientific Name

Gadus morhua, Gadus macrocephalus

Market Name

Cod, Alaska Cod

Common Names

Alaska Cod, Cod, Grey Cod, Pacific Cod, True Cod

Substitutions

Haddock, Pollock, Hoki

Raw Characteristics

  • brown or green-gray
  • large head, blunt snout
  • Atlantic cod—translucent, white to pinkish
  • Pacific Cod—opaque, creamy white
  • Atlantic cod 4–6 lbs
  • Pacific cod 5–15 lbs

Cooked Characteristics

  • mild, sweet flavor
  • low fat content
  • medium firm texture
  • dense white flesh
  • moderately firm texture
  • large, moist flakes

Pronunciations

Icelandic: þorskur
Danish: kabeljautorsk
French: morue
German: kabeljau
Italian: merluzzo bianco
Japanese: taiseiyo tara
Spanish: bacalao