If you are on the traditional Milwaukee, Wisconsin Friday fish fry plan like Keith Kamikawa, his breaded pan-fried cod should be in your regular rotation. As the recipe creator told Mashed, this easy, yet flavorful dish is definitely a part of his "Friday fish fry arsenal."
Served alone, or with traditional midwestern accompaniments — "I love buttered, marbled rye, a creamy coleslaw, and fries as sides," Kamikawa told us — dinner is served in less than an hour. And that time includes whipping up a homemade version of tartar sauce you will literally lick off your fingers it is so darn delicious.
Ultimately, Kamikawa’s breaded fried cod is comfort food, best enjoyed any day of the week, not just on Fridays — whenever you feel like a crunchy, creamy, salty combo for your tastebuds will make the evening a bit more palatable for your mind, body, and soul.
Shop for your ingredients
Your shopping list for this cod dinner includes several items you likely keep on hand in the kitchen. So, gather or shop for mayonnaise, white vinegar, lemon juice, your favorite Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, dill pickle relish, fresh dill (which you will chop), black pepper, kosher salt, a pound of cod cut into four 4-ounces servings, panko breadcrumbs (with Kamikawa noting other fine breadcrumbs work fine here too), as well as celery salt, paprika, cayenne, flour, an egg, and vegetable oil.
Although you may have spread some dill pickle relish on a hot dog, you may not have cooked with it before. Kamikawa explained to Mashed why he uses it in this recipe: "Dill pickle relish is one of my favorite condiments for so many dishes. It’s simply chopped dill pickles," he said, adding, "You can find it easily at your local grocery store by the other condiments. If you don’t have any dill pickle relish on hand, you can just chop up the equivalent portion of dill pickles and use that instead."
Make the tartar sauce
Your first step in bringing your cod from page to plate is to make the tartar sauce. So, combine the following ingredients in a bowl: mayonnaise, white vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, that dill pickle relish, chopped, fresh dill, ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper, and kosher salt. Of course, devotees know the difference between kosher salt and table salt is in the flavor. Once you have mixed the ingredients for the tartar sauce, go ahead and refrigerate it until your fish is ready to serve.
But first, be sure to sneak a taste of this yummy dipping sauce, with Kamikawa noting, "Other than the dill, this is a pretty quick and traditional tartar sauce, but you can certainly change it up if you’d like." His suggestions for adding a twist to your tartar? "Adding shaved onion would be great, or capers, or substitute parsley for the dill."
Prep your cod and set up a breading station
Now, for the cod, your first step is to make the breading. You will combine the panko breadcrumbs, celery salt, paprika, cayenne, and remaining black pepper in a bowl. Kamikawa told Mashed about perhaps the most unexpected ingredient in the cod breading: "Celery salt has a very unique flavor and is commonly used in spice mixtures when seasoning all kinds of seafood. It’s one of those go-to spices for me that adds a wonderful taste to the cod."
Next, beat the egg in a separate bowl. You will set up a breading station in this order: the cod, a bowl containing the flour, a bowl with the beaten egg, and a bowl of breading.
To assemble the fish for frying, take one piece of cod at a time. First, dredge the cod in the flour, then coat the cod in the egg. The last step before the cod hits the pan is to thoroughly coat the fish in the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Cook the cod
You are now ready to cook your cod. Kamikawa instructs home cooks to heat a 10- or 12-inch nonstick pan over medium heat. You will add a half cup of vegetable oil, and wait for it to shimmer before placing the pieces of cod evenly in the pan. You want to pan fry the first side for five minutes, rotating each piece of fish 180 degrees halfway through the cook so that you evenly brown the top. "Lower the heat if the cod is browning too quickly," Kamikawa advises.
After the five minutes are up, flip each piece of fish, turning down the heat on the stove to medium-low to avoid burning. Pan fry the other side for another five minutes, once again rotating the cod halfway through to evenly brown the bottom.
Finally, enjoy your hot cod with your awaiting tartar sauce and a lemon wedge on the side if desired.
Keith Kamikawa’s breaded pan-fried cod recipe is part of his Friday fish fry rotation, but you can enjoy his savory, crunchy dish any day of the week.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
- ⅜ teaspoons black pepper, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound cod (cut into four 4-ounce pieces)
- 4 ounces panko breadcrumbs (or other fine breadcrumbs)
- 2 teaspoons celery salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ cup flour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Make the tartar sauce by combining mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, relish, chopped fresh dill, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, and salt in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To make the breading, combine panko breadcrumbs, celery salt, paprika, cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- Crack an egg into a bowl and beat.
- Set up a breading station with four bowls in this order: bowl holding cod, bowl holding flour, bowl holding beaten egg, and bowl of breading.
- Working with one piece of cod at a time, dredge the cod in flour, then coat the cod in egg, and finally thoroughly coat the cod in the seasoned breadcrumbs. Repeat until all of the cod is breaded.
- Heat a 10 or 12-inch nonstick pan on medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the cod spaced evenly in the pan. Pan fry for 5 minutes. Rotate each piece of cod 180 degrees ½ way through to evenly brown the top.
- After 5 minutes flip the cod, and set heat to medium-low. Pan fry for another 5 minutes, once again rotating the cod ½ way through to evenly brown the bottom.
- Serve immediately with a side of tartar sauce.