One day for lunch at a previous place of employment, I absent-mindedly brought leftover fish for lunch to the office. It was cod too. I heated it up in the microwave and a blanket of fish odor wafted from the break room, into the lobby and followed me to my cube as I carried the Pyrex dish with me back to my desk. Never do this, just don’t. You will sit in this cloud of stench for at least an hour after. In fact, your co-workers will most likely dub you ‘Stench’. Back in eighth grade a boy who I thought was revolting, and most likely had a crush on me, told everyone I smelled like kippers for the entire day…which felt like two weeks at that time. As if being thirteen isn’t awkward enough, I was then taunted because my classmates thought I smelled like stinky kippers. If you are unfamiliar with these fish, which I gather are herring that have been salted and then smoked, go out and buy a jar to eat with some crackers. Just be sure to crack open a window or two. They are delicious and good for you, but viciously odorous. Back in my office and now older I was, once again, a social pariah except this time of my own doing. The day before, what had been a scrumptious lightly breaded fillet of fresh cod was now my down-fall, my thorn – a hot pile of white fish with soggy clumps of panko clinging to its exterior in a puddle of juice. Yes, my leftovers were not so delicious leftover, nor did they earn me any friends. I ate quickly to appease a nagging appetite, rummaged through the employee storage closet for some air freshener to tidy up the crime scene, ran out of there and took a nice, long walk in hopes that the fishy smell would dissipate by the time my lunch break was over. I cannot remember if it smelled like cod when I got back to my desk, but I do know that the closest thing to fish I ever brought back to that place were of the Swedish gummy variety.
Here is the meal that was served the evening prior to the incident at the office.
This is what happens when you are over-zealous with flipping over your pan-frying fish. Be careful.
1 lb cod
Salt and pepper
¼ cup flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons oil
Rinse and pat the cod fillets dry. Season with salt and pepper. Set up a nice ‘dunking station’ by placing the flour, eggs and panko crumbs in separate, shallow bowls side-by-side and in that order with a plate at the end. Dunk the fillets first in the flour, then the egg wash and finally the panko ensuring that they are covered entirely after each step. Place them on the plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large skillet (preferably cast iron) and heat to medium-high. Once oil heats up, place two fillets of same thickness in skillet and cook 4-8 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Once panko is golden-brown and the fish is white and flaky inside, remove from heat. Add the other tablespoon of oil and cook remaining fillets. Cod may be kept warm in an oven set at 200 degrees until ready to serve with your choice of sides and sauces. Re-heating the next day in a cramped office setting, not recommended.
And, a little potpourri to end with. Ahhhhh!