As cod can be a large fish, the fillet is often too big for a single portion. It is therefore possible to buy the cod loin, which is cut from the middle section or fattest part of the fillet. Succulent loins are short and fat compared to longer cod fillets and they are considered the prime cut. They are usually sold boneless and skinless though it is also possible to buy them with the skin on.
When buying loins or fillets as opposed to whole fish, it is harder to tell how fresh the fish is but use your senses as a guide – the flesh should be firm to the touch, pearly white in colour and should not smell fishy or unpleasant. Like all fish, cod is best when eaten fresh so is best purchased on the day you plan to cook it.
Cod is vulnerable to overfishing so when buying cod loin, always check the latest guidelines for sourcing cod sustainably or buy fish with Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. Other white fish with a similar texture and taste such as pollock, haddock or coley can be used in many recipes that call for cod.
Cod is a very versatile, robust fish and the loins can be roasted, battered, pan-fried, poached, confited, grilled or steamed. The dense flesh is relatively sturdy for a flaky white fish so the loins are also great for putting in bouillabaisse or fish stews because they hold their shape well. For further cooking instructions and serving suggestions follow the guidelines for cooking cod fillets or look to our collection of fantastic cod recipes for inspiration.