"Wow, what's the special occasion?" my husband asked when I set this dinner on the table. It was just an average Wednesday night, but judging by the looks of the shallow bowls filled with tender cod fillets, vibrant veggies, fresh herbs, and a fragrant lemon and white wine broth, I can see how he thought I'd planned a fancy dinner. And that is the beauty of this weeknight recipe — it is so beautiful and nourishing, yet so surprisingly easy to pull together. This dish doesn't just get dinner on the table — it makes you feel like a total rockstar.
Braising Delivers Moist, Tender Fish Every Time
Braising is one of my favorite methods for cooking fish. If you're new to cooking fish or want some extra assurance you'll be tucking into tender, juicy fillets, you've got to try this method.
After it's seared, the cod is gently simmered in a lemony white wine and caper broth, alongside potatoes and asparagus. The fragrance of the cooking liquid is subtly infused into the fillets and, best of all, it keeps the fish moist, even if it stays on the stove a few minutes too long.
Read more: Your Guide to Never Overcooking Fish Again
5 Recipes for Fast and Fancy Weeknight Dinners
Embrace fast-and-fancy dinners and your meal plan will never be the same again. This week we're sharing five recipes that teach you the magic of everyday fast-and-fancy meals. These dinners are impressive and feel a little more special than your standard weeknight fare, yet are quick and easy enough to pull together any night of the week.
Skillet Braised Cod with Asparagus and Potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (3/4-inch thick) skinless cod fillets (6 to 8 ounces each)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon capers
Finely grated zest of 1/2 medium lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
12 ounces small purple potatoes, halved or quartered if large
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Generously season the fish all over with salt and pepper. Place the fish in the pan and sear undisturbed for 1 minute. Carefully flip with a flat spatula and sear for 1 minute more. Transfer the fish to a plate and set aside.
Add the garlic, capers, and lemon zest to the pan. Stir to coat with the remaining oil in the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the water, potatoes, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Return the cod fillets and any accumulated juices to the pan. Cook until the fish is opaque and warmed through and the asparagus is tender, 2 to 3 minutes more.
Divide the fish fillets between shallow bowls, then spoon the potatoes and asparagus into the bowls. Stir the basil into the broth in the pan, then pour the broth over the fish.
- Fish substitutions: Any firm-fleshed white fish, like halibut, sea bass, or monkfish can be used in this recipe.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.