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Big Apple Cod with Afghan Spices

Recipe adapted from BBQ USA

Cod is a delicate, flaky fish, which usually spells disaster on a grill. But in steak or fillet form, itís less likely to fall apart, whether cooked directly on grill grates or in a basket. Whatís more, these cuts make a delectable, just-firm-enough platform for a variety of flavors. The mixture of spices in the recipe at right, created by barbecue expert Steven Raichlen, transforms this whitest of fish into something almost exotic and keeps it from drying out.

Serves 4

Ingredients For the cod and marinade

  • 4 fresh cod steaks (each 1 inch thick anad 8 oz) or 4 cod fillets (each 6 oz)
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped (fora hotter fish, leave the seeds in)
  • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges as needed

Ingredients for the Basting Mixture

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Rinse the cod under cold water, blot it dry with paper towels, then place it in a nonreactive baking dish.
  2. Make the marinade: Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, peppers, lemon juice, oil, salt, coriander, and black pepper in a blender, add 2 tablespoons of water, and puree until smooth, adding more water as necessary to obtain the thickness of a marinade. Pour the marinade over the cod, turning the fish once or twice to coat it evenly. Let the cod sit in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight, turning it once or twice so that it marinates evenly.
  3. Make the basting mixture: Put the salt, black pepper, hot pepper flakes, and oil in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix.
  4. Set up the grill for direct grilling, and preheat to high.
  5. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Drain the marinade from the cod, and discard the marinade. Generously brush each piece of fish on both sides with the basting mixture. If using a fish basket, spray or brush it with oil and fasten the marinated cod inside. Place the fish or the fish basket on the hot grate, and grill until the cod is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side. If grilling the fillets directly on the grate, arrange them on a diagonal to the bars, then rotate them a quarter-turn after 2 minutes on each side to create crosshatch grill marks. Turn the cod over when the bottom is golden brown. To test for doneness, press the fish with your fingers; it should break into clean flakes. Brush the fish with any remaining basting mixture as it cooks. Serve with lemon wedges.
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