Of all the classic food combinations that exist in the world, I could make a strong case for lemon and capers being one of the greatest. Sharp, briny, salty, acidic – they breathe life and flavor into dishes. And when you add garlic in there? Man, oh man.
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Lemon and capers are the backbone of the savory sauce that goes with this beautiful baked cod. They combine with an unexpected ingredient to create a rich, velvety complement to the flaky cod filets.
And speaking of the baked cod, I love how easy and hands off baking fish is. For me, it takes a lot of the stress out of cooking seafood (why is cooking seafood so stressful?!). The cod bakes alongside cauliflower for an almost one pan dinner.
Lemon Caper Cauliflower Sauce
It’s not truly a one pan dinner for very good reason. The lemon caper cauliflower sauce. Cauliflower is the unexpected ingredient that makes this super easy, creamy, and savory sauce.
And when I say easy, I mean really super easy. Like, can you boil cauliflower till it falls apart? Can you saute garlic in butter? Can you use a blender? You’re in business.
AND to make this even easier, you can use an immersion blender like I did and blend everything up in the same bowl for super simple clean up.
If you follow along with my weekly Tuesday Night’s cooking adventures on Instagram, you’ll know about my renewed love for my immersion blender (this week I used it to blend up an almond lemongrass topping for some charred crispy garlic Brussels sprouts).
Psst If you have no idea what I’m talking about, head on over to Wanderings in my Kitchen on Instagram. I’m cooking my way through Milk Street’s Tuesday Nights Cookbook and document a new recipe from start to finish every (duh) Tuesday night!
Making the sauce is as simple as blending cooked cauliflower, butter, garlic, lemon juice and capers. The cauliflower gives the sauce a wonderful creaminess, and it’s so flavorful. I’d pretty much eat this as a dip instead of a sauce, it’s that good.
The sauce can easily be made while the baked cod cooks in the oven with the cauliflower.
How to make the baked cod
If making the sauce was easy, making the fish is even easier. All you do is add cod filets, cauliflower florets, and drained capers to a baking sheet. Coat with a generous glug of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Then bake!
No fuss at all, and cod stands up really well to be baked in the oven.
After the cod is baked, you add a sprinkling of chopped parsley for a touch of freshness.
You do want the sauce to be ready as soon as the baked cod comes out of the oven so that it’s ready to serve right away. Fish almost never reheats well, so you want everything else to be done when the fish is done.
To serve, add a few spoonfuls of the lemon caper cauliflower sauce to a plate. Top with a baked cod filet and some of the roasted cauliflower and capers. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Can’t get enough caper love? Try these White Wine Braised Chicken Thighs with Capers too!
Baked Cod with Lemon Caper Cauliflower Sauce
This super simple baked cod recipe stands out from the rest because of this creamy and flavorful lemon caper cauliflower sauce – it’s next level stuff!
- 4 medium cod filets
- 1 lb cauliflower florets divided
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup drained brined capers divided
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tbsp chopped garlic
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
Start by making the Lemon Caper Cauliflower sauce. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil – add a big pinch of salt and half of the cauliflower florets
Cover and boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until the florets are very soft. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400. Pat dry the cod filets.
Add the cod filets, and the remaining cauliflower to a large greased baking sheet. Add the capers, minus 1 tbsp to be used for the sauce, to the baking sheet as well.
Drizzle the cod, cauliflower and capers with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until the cod filets are flaky all the way through.
While the cod bakes, finish making the Lemon Caper Cauliflower sauce. Melt butter in a small saute pan and add garlic.
Saute garlic for 30 seconds then add the wine and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
Combine the garlic and its cooking liquid with the reserved 1 tbsp capers, lemon juice, and cooked cauliflower in a large bowl. Use an immersion blender to puree into a smooth sauce
To serve, spoon the sauce on to the bottom of each plate. Add a cod filet and some of the roasted cauliflower and capers. Sprinkle everything with parsley. Serve extra lemon wedges on the side if anyone wants more acidity with their fish.
- Make sure to have your sauce prepared before the cod is done. The cod won’t reheat well, but the cauliflower sauce will
- If you don’t have an immersion blender, a food processor or regular blender both work well to make the lemon caper cauliflower sauce.