Cod has a face only a mother could love but the white, firm flesh is succulent and delicious when cooked. The flavour is subtle and ever so slightly sweet and it’s a leaner option than salmon.
Like all fish, cod should be cooked with care. Do not be afraid of undercooking the fish. Hold your nerve and you will be rewarded with flaky white flesh that still has a pleasant oily texture.
With its subtle flavour and firm, flaky texture, cod is a brilliantly versatile fish. The classic way of serving cod is in batter with chips and mushy peas but it is also the perfect choice for a fish pie or stew like bouillabaisse because it holds its shape when cooked and is complemented by rich sauces.
Because cod tastes quite sweet, it pairs brilliantly with salty meat such as pork belly, chorizo, morcilla or pancetta. For similar reasons, cod can be marinated in soy sauce or served with an Asian-style broth.
More traditionally, cod is served with buttery sauces as seen in Galton Blackiston's recipe for Roast cod with lemon beurre blanc and winter ratatouille and Mark Jordan's recipe for Fillet of Cod with poached hen's egg, crushed Jersey Royals and chive butter sauce. But cod also stands up well to the strong flavours and spices of Indian cooking – see Vineet Bhatia's Amritsari cod with garlic and green pea chutney or Tony Fleming's Spiced cod with curried cauliflower and mango for inspiration.