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10-Minute Cod with Parsley-Walnut Pesto

Easy dinner: Cod with parsley-walnut pesto
Casey Barber

Chef notes

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
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup loosely packed whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 5-6 large basil leaves (optional)
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic, 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.