Choosing to eat sustainably can have a positive impact on the health of our oceans and lakes, which is why Shedd’s Right Bite team highlights a sustainable seafood option every month. April’s Fish of the Month is U.S. Pacific cod.
Not all cod is created equal. The Atlantic cod population has been heavily overfished and is just starting to recover. Pacific cod caught in U.S. waters are abundant in comparison to their Atlantic counterparts. A portion of the U.S. Pacific cod fishery is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world’s leading eco-label for seafood. Be sure to look for this logo when you go to the grocery store or dine at a restaurant.
U.S. Pacific cod are also considered a “Best Choice” on Shedd’s sustainable seafood wallet guide. They are caught by bottom longline, trap, and hook-and-line—the best methods to limit bycatch, wildlife accidentally caught by fishing lines and nets.
You can support this fishery by trying our Fish of the Month recipe for crispy cod tacos. Cod is a mild-flavored fish, and you’ll enjoy assembling your own tacos with the suggested toppings or your own favorites.
Crispy Cod Tacos
4 MSC-certified Pacific cod filets, cut into 8 strips
¾ cup beer
½ cup flour
½ tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1–1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
Grapeseed oil for frying
8 corn tortillas
Shredded purple cabbage
Ripe avocados, thinly sliced
Fresh lime wedges for garnish
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or more to taste)
A few sprigs of chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together beer, flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
2. Pour the panko breadcrumbs into a separate bowl.
3. Dip each piece of fish into the batter. Let the excess batter run back into the bowl.
4. Gently roll each piece of cod in panko crumbs to coat. Place the breaded fish onto the empty plate.
5. Heat ¼-inch of cooking oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the breaded fish pieces for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden and crisp.
6. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
7. Heat the corn tortillas in a skillet until they are warm, fragrant and flexible.
8. Assemble tacos as desired.
—Kara Kotwas and Sam Bugg, Shedd Aquarium’s Right Bite team