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Crispy Parmesan Crusted Cod with Aioli + Seared Zucchini

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
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Why we love it:

East Coast seafood restaurants always serve a version of baked white fish with a buttery, often crackery crust. It always looks so good but is usually overcooked and dry. People are often in disbelief there’s mayo on it, if you haven’t had it, try not to judge. It keeps the fish super moist and is absolutely delicious. The simple side of seared squash keeps it light enough for summer.


  • 114 pounds Cod (ideally in 4 even pieces - I like "true cod" but ling cod or grouper is great too)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 14 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 12 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided)
  • 1 pound Yellow Summer Squash (Gold Bar Zucchini, or Crookneck Squash. Or use regular green zuccchini)
  • 13 bunch Fresh Parsley (leaves and stems, chopped)
  • 14 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly cracked, to taste)

Cooking Instructions

  • 2. FISH

    Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment or a silicon mat. Place the fish on the baking sheet, spread out evenly, fillets not that close together (if you don’t have the same number of fillets as you do diners, cut the fish to serve everyone. With this dish you can actually trim a little from 2 different fillets and push them up next to each other to make 1 larger piece if needed).

    Sprinkle the fillets with about ½ a teaspoon of salt.

  • 3. AIOLI

    Place the ¼ cup of mayonnaise in a small bowl. Mince the garlic cloves and sprinkle them with a good pinch of the salt. Keep mincing as finely as you can. The salt will help them become softer and let their liquid out. Add the garlic to the mayo. Add the lemon zest and ½ of the lemon juice to the mayo. Stir to combine.

    Evenly divide the aioli (the mayo mixture) between the fillets and use the back of a spoon to smooth out an even coating just on the top.


    In another small bowl, place the breadcrumbs, ½ cup parmesan, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Evenly divide the breadcrumbs across all of the fillets making a smooth layer covering all of the aioli.

  • 5. COOK FISH

    Dot the top of each fillet with about ¼ teaspoon of butter. Place in the broiler and cook for about 12 minutes or until the breading is golden brown and if you look at the sides of the fish it is opaque and firm to the touch. Time will vary depending on the thickness of your fish.


    Meanwhile, slice the zucchini into ⅓” thick rounds (or slice them a little oblong on an angle - it just looks nice, doesn’t matter for taste!) Heat the remaining 1 ½ Tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over high heat. When it’s melted and bubbling, add the zucchini. Arrange the slices so as many as possible are flat so they will brown nicely.

    Don’t move them for about 2-3 minutes. You’ll smell the butter browning and if you check one, the edges should be golden. Sprinkle the zucchini with ½ teaspoon of salt. Shake, turn, or flip the slices however you’re comfortable and cook the other sides. Cook for about 3 minutes. Possibly, flip and turn one more time if you couldn’t get all of the pieces to touch the bottom at some point.

  • 7. PARSLEY

    While zucchini is cooking, chop up the ⅓ of a bunch of parsley, all the way down to the stems.

    When the zucchini is done, add most of the parsley and toss to combine. Save just a teaspoon or so for a nice garnish.

  • 8. PLATING

    Place the zucchini on large wide plates. Top the center of each mound with a fillet of fish. Garnish with the reserved parsley and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Check out our new features!


    use only parmesan on top of the aioli, or use GF bread crumbs (even if you make your own from GF bread or crackers)
    omit the parmesan, use a DF spread like tofutti, or kite hill ricotta instead of mayo. Or use an almond or coconut yogurt instead
    sub sheep’s pecorino romano for parmesan cheese
    We know some of you scrolled for this option, there’s always a mayo hater! Use half sour cream and half plain greek yogurt. Or, use ¼ cup tahini and ¼ cup miso mashed together, perhaps with a little water to bring it to a smooth paste
  • COD:
    look for true cod. Though halibut, ling cod, black cod are all good substitutes. Even a sole or catfish works. Salmon or trout would also benefit from this treatment
  • FISH:
    you can use the same method on a chicken breast or pork chop. Also good - portobello mushrooms prepared this way. Increase the cooking time for meat and after it’s browned from broiling, switch to 400 until the meat is cooked through.

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Stir together the aioli ahead
  2. This fish dish is actually quite good reheated because the aioli and breadcrumbs keep it moist – heat low and slow in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes to reheat
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