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Chef Box Series: Cod Cheeks Piccata

Serves: 2-3
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Moderate

A classic piccata preparation with lemon, butter and capers reimagined here with delicate, succulent cod cheeks. Don’t fear cooking with cod cheeks! The only thing strange about them is their name. Cod cheeks have the delicacy of cod but a no-flake texture similar to scallops. And because they are thinner than scallops, they’re easier to cook to perfection. 


Follow Chef Michael Lombardi, from SRV in Boston on Instagram.


For the cod cheeks

  • 1 pound cod cheeks
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 stick (4 ounce) butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

for the kale

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, washed and cut into 2 inch strips, stems discarded
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt


cod cheeks


Mix the flour with the salt and set aside in a bowl.


Heat the olive oil in a pan until it shimmers and barely smokes. Crush the clove of garlic and add it to the pan whole to perfume the oil. Remove it before adding the cod cheeks to the pan.


Dry the cod cheeks off lightly with a paper towel and then dredge them in the flour. Add the cheeks to the pan and cook until lightly golden brown on one side. Flip them and do the same on the other side. Remove the cheeks from the pan and rest them on a paper towel. Cod cheeks are done when they feel firm to the touch and are golden brown on both sides.


Pour off the oil and add the white wine to the pan. Reduce it down by half and add in the butter a piece at a time, whisking it to make an emulsified sauce. When all of the butter is mixed in, remove the pan from the heat and add in the capers, lemon juice, and chopped parsley.


Plate the cod cheeks and pour the sauce over top. Serve with the kale.



In a separate pan heat the olive oil and add in the garlic for a few seconds and next the kale. Season with salt and toss quickly. Remove from the pan when kale is mostly wilted and add it to the platter with the cod cheeks. Lightly dress the kale with lemon juice.