Grilled fish and garlic goodness… Portuguese style!
Todays recipe has two features: the grilled cod loins and the garlic sauce. Both of these elements put me in my happy place.
Grilled fish is so good. We often joke that if something tastes good, it’s probably bad for you. That’s definitely not the case with this recipe. Grilled fish has so many health benefits. And what do you know? It also happens to be delicious.
Oh that sauce! Do you love garlic?
The sauce I’m using today is based on one of my all-time favourite sauces; this time with a slight tweak! Today’s sauce is almost the same sauce I used in our Azores chicharros with sauce (blue horse mackerel or stickleback) recipe. Mmmm…chicarros.
In our chicharros recipe I use a little more water. That sauce is a bit more of a post-marinade. For today’s recipe, I wanted the same flavour, but I wanted the sauce to be slightly thicker, so I used less water.
This sauce always takes me back to my childhood. My mom would make this all the time for different types of fish. Disclaimer… if you’re not into garlic, this sauce might not be for you. We use a lot of garlic!
Is it difficult to grill cod loins? Will they fall apart?
It’s actually not that difficult. There are a few things to remember when grilling fish. Here are my tips:
Make sure to clean and grease the BBQ grates very well. I use vegetable oil. This turns the grill into an almost non-stick surface.
Make sure the grill is hot. I aim for a temperature between 400ºF and 450ºF. This cooks the fish quickly while adding some crispiness to the outside, which in turn helps hold the fish together. Cooking with a colder grill often leads to the fish falling apart on the grill.
You definitely can’t walk away from the BBQ when grilling cod loins. If they cook for too long, they will likely fall apart on the grill. Aim for about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Flip it only once! Once you flip over the fish, keep an eye on it. it should be white and flake a little if you touch it with a fork. Use a large spatula to get the fish off the grill.
What if I don’t feel comfortable grilling the fish?
Not a problem at all. You can bake the fish in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake at 425ºF for 13 – 15 minutes. Once again, make sure it looks white (instead of translucent) and that it flakes if you touch it with a fork.
So, was it good?
Hell yeah! I placed the hot fish pieces on a serving dish and added a splash of olive oil and a few spoonfuls of the sauce over each piece of fish. OMG (yes I know, I’m too old to use “OMG”, but it was that good!).
Don’t be afraid to grill fresh fish. It’s delicious and so good for you… and we want you to eat well, friends.
Grilled cod loins with Portuguese garlic sauce (molho cru)
- 2 lbs fresh cod loins
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil + extra to grease the grill
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 small bunch of flat leaf or Italian parsley about ½ cup after chopped, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sweet pimento paste
- ¼ cup water
- Pre-heat your BBQ to between 400 ºF and 450 ºF.
- In a wide medium bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients and set aside. I mashed mine in a pestle and mortar, but that’s optional.
- Cut the cod loins into serving size pieces. I got 6 pieces from my cod loins.
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over all sides of the fish.
- Drizzle the 2 tbsp of vegetable oil evenly over the fish, making sure it’s completely coated.
- Before adding the fish to the grill, scrape down the hot grates with a brush and grease them well with vegetable oil (use crumpled paper towel or an old clean cloth towel).
- Place the pieces of fish on the grill and close the lid. Let cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Open the lid, brush a little more vegetable oil over the tops of the fish, and carefully turn them over.
- Close the lid and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Open the lid and carefully lift and transfer the fish pieces to a serving dish.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over each piece of fish.
- At this point you can choose to spoon the sauce over the fish or serve it on the side.
- Serve with your favourite sides! In Portugal, fish is often served with boiled potatoes and salad.