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Steamed & Smoked Cod

Related Ingredients

Tasting Notes

Cod is more rich and oily than many other white fish, yet it's more delicate than salmon or tuna.

Michael Mina enhances its flavor by combining two cooking methods: steaming and smoking. The steam conducts heat and gently cooks the fish while hickory smoke infuses the cod with its subtle flavor. Don’t worry if you don’t have a grill with a smoker box – with Michael’s simple tips, you can safely smoke the fish on your stovetop. It will only need a touch of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper to fully bring out its buttery richness.

Tips & Techniques

  1. Brine time. Soaking the cod in saltwater will make it more tender, and the flavors of the brine will be absorbed more effectively if the brining liquid is slightly warm.
  2. On the surface. Pieces of fish that are flatter have more surface area, which makes them absorb more of the smoke flavor sooner. Thicker pieces can be smoked slightly longer.
  3. Test for doneness. Use a cake tester to tell when the fish is done. When the fish is ready to serve, the cake tester should come out warm.


This tool is one we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Bamboo steamer. A two-tiered bamboo steamer effectively combines steaming and smoking. The fish is placed in the top chamber, with the smoking wood chips underneath. While the smoke infuses the fish, the steam from the boiling water beneath the steamer floats through to cook the fish.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

  • Large pot
  • Large bowl
  • Plate lined with paper towels or rack over small baking sheet
  • Large metal bowl
  • Hand torch
  • Medium-sized baking sheet
  • Bamboo steamer
  • Spatula
  • Cake tester
  • Tinfoil

  • 4 (5 ounce) portions cod
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons salt
  • ½ cup hickory wood chips
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • Double decker bamboo steamer
  • Salt and pepper

Serves: 4

Total Time: 35 minutes

Active Time: 15 minutes

  1. Place a large pot of water over high heat to bring to a boil. Place a bamboo steamer on top of pot.
  2. Mix water and salt in a large bowl and stir with a whisk to dissolve the salt. Place the fish in salt water brine and let it sit in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Do not let the fish sit in the brine for longer. Remove fish and place it on a plate lined with paper towels or rack over a baking sheet. Discard the brine and pat the fish dry. Next, season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Make a tinfoil nest and place wood chips in tin foil tray. Place the tin foil tray on the bottom layer of a bamboo steamer that is on top of the pot of boiling water. Or, if you are nervous about lighting the chips so close to the bamboo steamer, you could also take the tinfoil tray with woodchips and place it in a metal bowl or baking dish. If you use this method, move the tin foil tray to the bottom bamboo bowl once flame is blown out.
  4. Light the chips in tinfoil tray placed within the bottom steamer on fire and let them burn for 1 minute or until they are charred and there is very visible smoke. Blow out the flames.
  5. The smoke needs to escape through the holes of its steamer basket to flavor the fish so you do not want to cover all the holes with the foil tray of chips. Fold the corners of the foil over if necessary. Quickly top the bottom steamer with smoking woodchips with the second portion of the bamboo steamer containing the cod. Cover with the lid and steam the fish for 4-6 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the thickest par of the fish comes out warm. Remove the fish from the steamer before testing with a cake tester as the steam can be very hot. Fish can be served with a lemon wedge.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Cod with olive oil potatoes & haricot verts

Bring out the smokey flavor of the cod by serving it with boiled new potatoes that have been dressed with olive oil, shallots and chopped parsley.  Pair with a side of haricot verts that have been blanched and glazed with butter and lemon zest.