By Cod, that's Good!!

Posted by Donna on 10:30 AM with No comments

Since we've moved to Massachusetts, cod has become a staple of our diet. Okay. Maybe not a "staple", but definitely something we eat a lot more of than say, spaghetti and meatballs (apologies to my Italian relatives).

Cod fishing's importance to American history is undeniable. Cape Cod was so named in 1602 by English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold, who took aboard his ship "a great store" of cod while visiting the surrounding waters, but cod fishing was inherent to the Bay State long before it was a British colony. The early pilgrims knew nothing about fishing, but were were determined to profit from it, according to Mark Kurlansky, in his book Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, (p. 68). Unfortunately, while the Pilgrims were starving in 1621, British ships were filling their holds with fish off the New England coast. Eventually, the Pilgrims established fishing stations in Gloucester, Salem, Dorchester, and Marblehead, Massachusetts, and Penobscot Bay, in what is now Maine. I would venture a guess that early ancestors John Brock and his son, John, both fisherman, took part in Gloucester's cod industry.

Cod is worshipped – practically – in Massachusetts. A carved Sacred Cod has been resident in the State House since the early 1700's. The original, and the State House, were destroyed by fire in 1747. Both were replaced in 1773. The Thomas Crafts, Jr. iteration and the State House, again, were destroyed in the Revolutionary War during the British siege of Boston in 1775. Like the fish itself, the carving continues to perservere, and in 1784, Rep. John Rowe offered a third Sacred Cod carving to the House of Representatives. It hung there until 1798 when it was moved to the House of Representatives Chamber in the (third) new State House. The cod moved once more, in 1895, to the new House chambers where it remains today as an ancient symbol of prosperity.

I've baked, broiled and beer battered cod, but in an attempt to eat better (and get out of the kitchen in the summer), the grill is my new best friend. It's really Jason's best friend, but since he's my hubby, it's mine by association. From time to time I wing it with recipes, from the really good to The Monkfish Episode, now a euphemism in our house for total disaster, but this grilled cod definitely falls into the former not the later category.

All you need is a really great cod loin (nice thick pieces), some spices and a secret ingredient for an easy, simple and delicious dinner for two. Here goes:

2 Cod Loin pieces
Garlic Salt
McCormick's Tuscan Spices (rosemary, garlic, paprika, black pepper)
Weber Kickin' Chicken Spices (optional)

  • Place each cod loin on a piece of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap it up in).
  • Sprinkle the loins with garlic salt, Tuscan spices* and a dash or two of Weber Kickin' Chicken spices.
  • Slice one round from a medium onion (red or Vidalia), cut it in half, separate and top the cod loins with it.
  • Add 1 pat of butter and, the secret ingredient, 1 capful of of sweet vermouth to each packet.
  • Close the packet by folding down the top and folding in the sides. I usually double wrap – just so the packet doesn't fall apart when you take it off the grill.
  • Cook on your grill for 15 minutes.

Serve it with a great green salad and an ear of buttery corn and you've got a meal that will have you hook, line and sinker.

1. Celebrate Boston, The Sacred Cod;
2. Photo courtesy of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts online photo tour