One of the many enticements of this dish is its versatility. You can substitute any firm-fleshed fish for the cod, including salmon, and use any kind of citrus you have on hand. The technique—crisping just one side of the fish, then laying the fish, crisp side up, in a small amount of sauce—is borrowed from noted chef Gray Kunz and is a real winner. The hard-to-find ingredient here is rice flakes, but Indian grocers carry them. They make a beautiful crust. Excellent with Champagne.–Eric Gower


Before you turn your nose up at this seemingly fancy pants supper, consider that this simple seared fish fillet with a slightly tart citrus lilt comes together with ease even on the craziest of weeknights. We swear. Talk about simple sophistication—particularly if you pop open a bottle of bubbly. (Change your mind yet?)

A white plate with a serving of crispy rock cod with citrus sauce and a side of green beans.

Crispy Rock Cod with Citrus Sauce

4.80 / 5 votes
One of the many enticements of this dish is its versatility. You can substitute any firm-fleshed fish for the cod, including salmon, and use any kind of citrus you have on hand.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories279 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


For the sauce

  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped ginger
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the fish

  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, whisked together
  • 1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Four (6-ounce) rock cod fillets, (or substitute any white fish fillets)
  • 1/2 cup rice flakes, pulsed in a coffee or spice grinder with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Several tablespoons finely chopped chives


Make the sauce

  • Combine the orange juice, ginger, salt, cayenne, and maple syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and gently simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half. You should have about 1 cup. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and sweetness accordingly.

Make the fish

  • Whisk the egg and flour until smooth and add a generous pinch each salt and pepper. Spoon this mixture onto one side of each fillet and sprinkle with the rice flakes.
  • Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the fish, coated side down. Sauté until golden and crisp, 4 or 5 minutes. Flip the fish and cook for 2 or 3 minutes longer.
  • Spoon about a tablespoon sauce onto each individual plate and place the fish, crisp side up, on each one. Top with chives.
The Breakaway Cook by Eric Gower

Adapted From

The Breakaway Cook

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 279 kcalCarbohydrates: 41 gProtein: 4 gFat: 12 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 6 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 56 mgSodium: 8 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 17 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2007 Eric Gower. Photo © 2007 Annabelle Breakey. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Excellent fish recipe. Very flavorful. We loved the sauce, and it was so simple to make. The technique of breading on only one side gave the fish fillet a lightness you don’t find with other fish recipes that include breading and sautéeing on both sides. I can’t say enough good things about this recipe. I could also see this recipe being equally wonderful using panko crumbs rather than rice flakes, and they would be easier for the home chef to find, as they’re readily available these days in just about any market. Served it with sautéed broccoli rabe, which was a nice complement to the citrus flavors of the sauce.

This crispy rock cod with citrus sauce is awesome! The hint of maple syrup was delicious and just sweet enough. The bite of the ginger wasn’t overpowering and was so pleasing with the citrus. We loved the crispy flakes on one side of the fish. We followed the author’s suggestion and had Mumm Napa Brut Prestige sparkling wine with the dish. The flavors were fantastic and I would definitely do this for company next time!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Tried this for dinner tonight. Used panko instead of rice flakes and some demerara sugar instead of maple syrup (I’m Canadian, but I hate maple syrup, go figure). Delicious sauce, added some lemon juice and a bit more cayenne, worked great with the ginger. Used scallions instead of chives on top. It looked great and tasted great. Will definitely use this again, so thank you!!

    1. Thank you, Beverly, for taking the time to share this with us. Your substitutions sound great and I’m delighted it worked out so well for you. It’s also refreshing to meet a fellow Canadian who doesn’t love maple syrup!

  2. 5 stars
    I thought the prep for this recipe was quick and easy and by making the sauce and grinding the rice flakes ahead of time, the recipe went together in no time. And what a surprise the flavors of the ginger and orange turned out to be! When I tasted the sauce for seasonings, I thought, wow! I must have put in an extra big pinch of cayenne. But with the fish it wasn’t so. The sauce had a bit of heat to it, but it complemented the fish wonderfully. My husband, who is not a fish eater, said he liked this dish. He said it didn’t taste like he was eating fish, as the sauce and flakes enhanced the flavors. A great and easy way to prepare fish.

  3. 5 stars
    The fish was crispy and flaky and the sauce was a perfect match with the fish. So easy to make and quick, too. excellent!