We all want to eat better, but life doesn't always make it easy. And despite its healthy pedigree, fish seems way too finicky to be a viable option for a quick meal. Not so! Let this almost-too-easy dish change your mind. Mild, flaky cod topped with healthy parsley-walnut pesto can be made in less time than it takes to boil a pot of water for boxed mac and cheese. Heat a pan, add fish, and make the nutty pesto while the fillets cook. There's nothing to it!
Pro tip: to help prevent flaky fish from sticking to the pan, take it out of the fridge and let rest on the counter for 30 minutes before cooking.
- 1 1/2 pounds cod or other firm, flaky white fish fillets
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 1 cup loosely packed whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 5-6 large basil leaves (optional)
- 2/3 cup walnuts
- 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
Slice the cod into 4 fillets if your fishmonger hasn't already done so. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large (12-inch) heavy-bottomed skillet or saute pan over medium heat.
Carefully add the fillets to the pan, leaving enough room around each fillet. (Note: if your pan is not large enough to comfortably fit all 4 fillets, cook them in 2 batches.)
Cook for about 5 minutes until the bottom and sides of each fillet has turned from translucent to opaque, then carefully flip the fillets and cook for 3 minutes more. The fish will continue to cook through from the residual heat.
While the fish cooks, make the pesto: add the parsley, basil (if using), walnuts, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to a mini food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Plate the fillets and top each with generous spoonfuls of the parsley-walnut pesto. Serve immediately.