Recipe: Pan Seared Local Cod from Portland, Maine

Portland Maine

During these unprecedented times, when staying at home is of the utmost importance, us here at The AU Review are going to be doing everything we can to help readers live their best lives, indoors.

As with many other media companies who typically focus on getting folks out and about, we’re shifting to adapt to the necessary lock-downs taking place all over the world. One way we’ll be doing so is simply by sharing our favourite recipes.

Over the next few weeks (or months, who knows) we’ll be publishing the cocktail and food recipes that we find most exciting, so that when you aren’t ordering in to support your favourite venues, you’ll know enough to quickly throw together some top-class concoctions.

Pan Seared Local Cod

Anyone who has been to Portland, Maine wouldn’t at all be surprised to hear that it’s considered one of the greatest small cities in the USA. Not to mention the most delicious.

In 2018 the breezy, charming spot was named ‘Restaurant City of the Year’ by Bon Appetit, no doubt thanks to award-winning restaurants like UNION. This farm-to-table restaurant, resident of luxury boutique The Press Hotel – which I gave a perfect 5 stars in my review – is home to some of the best seafood in the city.

Want proof? Try your hand at one of UNION’s recipes for fancying up a pan seared cod with Littleneck clams, bok choy, Chinese fermented sausage and soy brown butter

. Note that the recipe lists ‘Wondra flour’ and ‘Littleneck clams’ specifically. A substitute for wondra flour is just all-purpose flour mixed with water. And instead of Littleneck clams, which are readily available in North America, us Aussies should make do with local alternatives like Vongole clams.

Note from chef: Make sure that you procure the thickest and firmest part of the cod. Once the fish is cooked through it will flake ever so delicately, one of cod’s best features. The familiar flavour of the brown butter is juxtaposed wonderfully by the soy and with the addition of the sausage this dish sings of “enhanced local cuisine.” This recipe serves 2.


  • 4 each, 850g cod portions, from the thickest part of the fillet. Salt and freshly ground
  • 1/8 cup Wondra flour
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons whole butter, cold and diced
  • 1 each, shallot, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Chinese fermented sausage, sliced thin
  • 3 each, heads baby bok-choy, halved and cleaned
  • 8 each, Littleneck clams (or substitute), scrubbed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cilantro and freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Heat oven to 176*C.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and swirl to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
  3. Season fish with salt and pepper and dust with flour.
  4. Once the pan is hot, gently place the fish in the pan.
  5. Drop in butter and swirl around until the fish is brown.
  6. Flip the fish over once it is “golden brown” and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Place the fish on a baking pan and put in the oven for 7-10 minutes until just cooked through.
  8. Once the fish is in the oven add the shallots, garlic, sausage, bok-choy, and clams to the pan of the brown butter.
  9. Stir the ingredients well.
  10. Deglaze with soy sauce and water.
  11. Cover the pan and cook until the clams are open.
  12. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning if needed.
  13. To serve, divide the ingredients in the pan between two bowls. Top with two pieces of the seared cod, garnish with chopped cilantro and fresh lemon.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.