By Michelle Lee
Zucchini ribbons make the perfect “bed” for Alaskan cod topped with sundried tomatoes, olives, basil, and lemon
Without doubt, this is the best Alaskan cod recipe I’ve tested ... and that’s saying something!
Inspired by a classic preparation from French chef Jacques Pépin, it’s bright with flavor and cooks to perfection in just 10 minutes.
The dish starts with two super healthy staples — Vital Choice wild Alaskan cod and fresh zucchini.
The fish and squash are topped with five traditional Mediterranean ingredients: olives, sundried tomatoes, scallions, basil, and lemon.
As the cod gently steams in the packets, the toppings impart an explosion of dynamic flavor, yielding rich, melt-in-your-mouth results.
A few notes for the cook
A mandoline-type slicer is the easiest way to get even, thin slices of zucchini.
I found one at my local kitchen store for under $20 ... but any sharp kitchen knife will do the trick.
Feel free to tinker with the flavor elements here — you could use a variety of olives, substitute the basil for fresh parsley, and try different types of citrus.
As you’ll see, the packets do a lovely job of gently steaming the fish. My packets expanded quite a bit while on the grill, so please release a bit of steam from a corner before you fully open the packets so you don’t burn yourself!
Mediterranean Grilled Cod or Halibut Packets
Serves 2, easily doubled (or halved)
NOTE: If you don't have a grill, you can roast the packets in the oven, at 400°F. And you can use either cod or halibut.
- 1 large (or 2 medium) zucchini
- 6 scallions
- ¼ cup Mediterranean olives*
- ¼ cup sundried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 6-ounce portions wild Alaskan cod or Alaskan halibut, thawed
*I used pitted Kalamata olives.If you can find them, picual olives possess a uniquely fresh, fruityflavor that appeals even to folks who aren't crazy about olives.
- Preheat grill to high heat for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the packets.
- Cut two large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil, each approximately 12" square. Make a crease across the center of each — you’ll fold the foil pieces in half here once they’re filled to create packets for the grill.
- To prepare the zucchini, trim the ends and, using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise, creating 8 to 10 long, thin “ribbons.”
- For the topping, thinly slice the white and light green portions of the scallions, discarding the green tops. Roughly chop the olives and sundried tomatoes together. Roughly chop the basil leaves. Stir the scallions, olives, tomatoes and basil together, then season with the zest of half a lemon.
- To assemble your packets, double over the zucchini pieces, placing the pieces side-by-side to create a bed for the fish portions in the center of the front halves of the foil. Drizzle the zucchini with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Lay the fish portions atop their zucchini beds, then top each portion with half of the olive and sundried tomato mixture.
- To finish the packets, fold the back half of the foil along the crease over the veggie-topped fish and fold over the long end to close, then fold over each side to completely close the packets. For a sturdier seal, fold each side once more.
- Grill the packets on high heat with the grill lid closed for 10 minutes.
- To serve, place the fish portions on a large plate, then add the zucchini pieces as a yummy side dish.