Sunday, March 4, 2012

Southwestern Fried Cod and Mary’s Casserole

I got out a package of cod from our trip to New England last May and I ended up with four nice sized pieces.  Since it was just Bev and I we baked two for supper one night and chunked and fried the other two for this meal.  I’d just received my care package from Lea Ann, so I decided to give the meal a Southwestern flair – the casserole already had it. 

This looks long, but it's mostly photos and recipes, which you can skip over.

Fish Batter, adapted from
1 cup self-rising flour
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp aleppo pepper flakes (from Lea Ann)
¼ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp dried Mexican oregano, rubbed to a powder (from Lea Ann)
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

½ tsp fresh lime juice

6 oz cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, plus more to thin the batter if necessary – pour the remainder in the sink – yeah right.

Mix everything together until smooth and store if fridge for an hour

Fish - I do better if I salt and pepper the fish directly rather than add it to the batter.

For a sauce I used Jenn’s (Jenn’s Food Journey) adaptation of Chris’ (Nibble Me This) Podunk Sauce.

5 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp champagne vinegar (all we had)
2 tsp hot sauce (I used Café Nocho* Chipotle)
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp aleppo pepper flakes (I used more since they are milder than the cayenne called for in the recipe)
1/4 tsp salt

*Café Nocho (Mexican Restaurant), Conway Village, NH

Mix everything together and store in fridge until ready to use – I made it in the morning.

I read three blogs authored by Mary’s and this recipe is from the One Perfect Bite Mary that I wanted to try as soon as I read it.  Check her site for more pictures and the recipe for her Corn and HominyCasserole.  We made it as best we could with what we had on hand. 

3/4 cup finely chopped multi-colored sweet peppers - ours from the freezer, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno pepper - ours from the freezer
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup sour cream (I used about 40% sour cream, 40% plain yogurt, 20% ricotta cheese – all we had)
1 clove minced garlic (my addition)
16 oz golden queen corn, ours from the freezer, thawed
2 cans (15.5-oz each) hominy , drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup 50-50 mix of mozzarella and Ballyshannon Irish Cheese – maybe our new favorite
3 tbsp butter
Cooking spray
1  tsp dried parsley

·         Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
·         Spray a 6"x9"x2.5" casserole dish with cooking spray.
·         Combine bell and jalapeno peppers.
·         Stir cilantro and garlic into sour cream – I mixed it 3 hours early so the flavors could marry.
·         Layer 1/3 of hominy, then 1/3 of corn in the casserole dish and  sprinkle with pepper and salt.
·         Top with 1/3 cup mixed peppers. Cover with 1/3 cup sour cream, then 1/2 cup cheese. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter.
·         Build a second layer like the first but without S&P or cheese. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter.
·         Build final layer using remaining hominy, corn, mixed peppers, sour cream, and cheese. Dot with final tablespoon butter.
·         Sprinkle parsley on top.
·         Bake casserole, uncovered, for 40 minutes and allow to stand for 10 minutes

We decided we needed something green and decided on a salad using a dressing adapted from


6 tbsp fat free ranch dressing
¾  tsp lime juice
¾ tsp Aleppo chile flakes
3 dash onion powder
3 dash garlic powder
3 dash cumin

Mix everthing together a couple of hours ahead of time.

The salad was made from
Romaine lettuce - 1 boat shaped leaf and 1 leaf torn into pieces
Plumb tomatoes, chunked
Red onion, thin sliced
Canned black beans, rinsed
Corn - left from the casserole
Wish we'd had some avocados

We had some asparagus and Bev decided we should use some of the fish batter to fry up a few pieces, but I forgt for the first shot.

After plating, I followed Lea Ann’s lead and sprinkled a little Aleppo Pepper Flakes on everything along with some of the cheeses.

I sprinkled the cheese on top for pretty but after seeing the shots, it covered the presentation I'd worked hard on - the asparagus on top didn't help either.  Oh well, at least I thought about it.

The batter is the same one we’ve used for our fish tacos so I was pretty sure I’d like it, but coupled with the podunk sauce it was awesome - left a nice heat in the back of my throat. The asparagus liked the sauce as well. The cod prepared this way was much, much better than the baked version.

I thought the salad was delicious and would use the dressing again. Bev said the casserole needed something so I went back and re-read the recipe to discover I'd used one jalapeno rather than 1/4 cup - I've told you she was the real cook in the family.  I still thought it was very good, and after stirring some sauteed jalapenos into the leftovers, it was as delicious as I expected it would be.

I'd have to chalk this up as a mighty fine southwestern meal and I'd eat it again in a heartbeat. 

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  Smoked Rib Roast & Pepper Sauce Taste Test

Two years ago:  Ain't Spring Great?


2/29/12  meal date


  1. At this rate, I'll have to ship another package of Aleppo next week. :) I think that dressing sounds really good. A must try. I don't have a good batter recipe, bookmarking yours. Love the addition of dry mustard. After my blue cheese burgers, it's another ingredient I seem to be adding to everything. Great looking meal Larry.

  2. All of it looks so good! Especially that crisy fish.

  3. Larry, The cod with the podunk sauce with the asparagus look terrific! Sometimes I think that we need to learn to cook fish at home rather than just eating it when we go out... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  4. Isn't that sauce the best? And trust me, it goes with just about everything!! lol
    And speaking of everything... I want one of each please!!

  5. What a delicious explosion of flavors! Thank you for sharing, Larry! Have a great week!

  6. Looks like fish you'd get in a restaurant. Very nice. I bet it has a great crunch.

  7. That cod looks wonderful! I just picked up some Aleppo pepper from Penzeys over the weekend so I'm ready to do - now I just need some cod :)

  8. I find cod too salty, but there's so much else in here that I think it would be just great.

  9. Hello There, Since I've been away from blogging for a week, I have alot of catching up to do. We had a wonderful trip to Arkansas --but it's great to visit with my blog friends. Hope things are going well with you.

    Bet that cod and the casserole were delicious... Makes me hungry just reading about them... YUM.

  10. Now I'm in the mood for some great battered fish! In fact, with St. Patrick's Day coming up, it's a perfect reason to do so! Love that casserole! Glad to find you two on Facebook and hope all is well after those storms ripped through the region!

  11. I found your comment about salting the fish directly and not in the batter mix interesting. I've seen several burger "masters" comment on that they only salt the burger once it's on the grill, not in the mix of the burger. That is something I've been trying.


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