Pan Seared Cod with a Caper, Parsley and Lemon Sauce

Thick cut cod is pan seared in a mixture of olive oil and butter to produce a golden brown crust and then served with a lemon, parsley, and caper sauce to make a simple and healthy weeknight meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 275kcal
Author Just a Little Bit of Bacon


  • 1 1/2 lb thick cut cod fillet, cut into 4-5 pieces
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided, one tbsp for the fish and 3 tbsp for the sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth, or dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Seasoned Flour

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 dash cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper


  • Sprinkle one tablespoon of lemon juice over the cod fillets and set them aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Allow the lemon juice to sit on the cod at least 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix together all the seasoned flour ingredients. Pat the fish dry and dredge in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the pan is hot and the oil is shimmering. Add the cod and cook for 5-6 minutes on the first side. The fish will take a couple of minutes to release from the pan. Once it does, keep an eye on it and check for browning. When it's a deep, golden brown, turn the fish.
  • Continue cooking the fish on the other side until it is browned and the fish is cooked through, about another 5-6 minutes. Add another tablespoon of olive oil if needed.
  • Remove the fish to a serving dish and let it rest while you make the sauce.
  • Add the garlic and capers to the pan and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add the vermouth to deglaze. Bring it to a boil and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil for 1 minute. Then add the lemon juice and parsley. Stir to combine and bring to a boil again. Immediately pour the sauce over the fish and serve.


  • Thick cut cod is often called captain's cut cod. If you can't find thick cut cod, you can use thinner pieces, just reduce the cooking time. Either way, try to find pieces which are all the same thickness so they all cook together.
  • I like to serve this recipe with some simple cooked orzo tossed with olive oil and a steamed vegetable.


Calories: 275kcal