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How to Cook Coley (with Recipes)
What is Coley?
Coley, coalfish, saithe, cuddlings - all and more are actually different regional names for the same fish. Coley is a lesser known member of the cod family, frequently known in the USA as pollock (not to be confused with pollack, a very different member of the cod family.) Coley has never been as popular an eating fish as its cousin, the cod, but, "The Big Fish Fight," campaign which is presently operating in Great Britain to support eating more sustainable varieties of fish is very much advocating the eating of coley as opposed to the seriously endangered cod. This site is dedicated to looking at simple and tasty ways to cook and serve coley.
A Piece of Fresh Coley Loin Fillet
Pan Fried Coley Fillet in Fresh Breadcrumbs with Real Chips and Salad
Ingredients per Serving
1 fresh coley fillet
2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
1 beaten egg
1 large potato
3 lettuce leaves
2 small cherry tomatoes
4 slices of cucumber
Salt and black pepper
Everyone who eats chips/French fries has their own favourite way of making them but to find out how I prepare them, click here.
The egg should be beaten in a shallow, wide-bottomed bowl and seasoned with salt and pepper. The breadcrumbs should be spread over a fairly large dinner plate.
Put enough sunflower oil in to a non-stick frying pan to cover the base. Draw the coley fillet through the egg, pat it on both sides in the breadcrumbs and - very importantly - repeat this process. This will ensure a thick, even coating of breadcrumbs on the fish.
The coley fillet should be fried over a medium heat for around three to four minutes each side, until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden. While the fish is frying, the salad ingredients should be arranged on the plate as shown and the chips should be given their final fry.
The final components can then be plated and the meal served immediately.
Cheese and Herb Crusted Coley Fillet with Dill Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli
This is a great coley recipe to make for all the family, as the fairly small coley fillets will all fit in one large frying pan. Note that the relevant photos to the right show only one fillet in a small pan, simply in order to provide the best illustration.
Ingredients for Four People
4 small coley fillets of even thickness (skin on)
4 large potatoes
1 large head of broccoli
1 outside slice of bread
2oz cheddar cheese
¼ red bell pepper
3 or 4 large basil leaves
1 tsp dried dill
Salt and pepper
Sunflower oil for frying
2 tbsp flour for dusting coley fillets
Peel the potatoes, chop them in to chunks and add to a pot of cold, lightly salted water. Put the pot on a high heat until the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to achieve a simmer and contimue to simmer for thirty minutes.
Grate/shred the bread and the cheese and add them to a bowl. Finely dice the red bell pepper, roughly chop or tear the basil leaves and put them in the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir well.
When the potatoes have been boiling for twenty minutes, the broccoli should be broken in to florets and added to a pan of boiling, lightly salted water. It will take eight to ten minutes to cook.
Put your overhead grill on to preheat to maximum.
A couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil should be added to a large frying pan and brought up to a fairly high heat. The flour should be spread on a dinner plate and seasoned with salt and pepper. The coley fillets should be patted in the flour on the skin side only and added to the frying pan. They should be seasoned with salt on the flesh side and fried on a moderate to high heat for four minutes. The heat should then be reduced and the fillets turned to fry on the flesh side for two minutes.
The pan should now be removed from the heat. Working as quickly as possible (you will get faster with experience!) remove the skin from the fillets, using a blunt edged knife for assistance, if necessary. The skin should be beautifully crisp and peel off fairly easily. The cheese and herb topping should now be spread over the fillets and by far the easiest way to do this is by hand. Don't worry about a little spillage in the pan - it will not affect plate presentation. Put the pan under the hot grill for a couple of minutes while you finish preparing the potatoes and broccoli.
Drain the potatoes through a colander and return them to the pot. Add the butter and the dill and mash. Using an ice cream scoop to plate the mash is optional. Drain the broccoli and plate that also before finally removing the frying pan from under the grill (with an oven protecting glove!) and carefully add the coley fillets to the plate.
Oven Baked Coley Fillet with Boiled New Potatoes and Peas
Ingredients per Person
1 fresh coley fillet
8 baby new potatoes
2 tbsp frozen peas
6 fresh mint leaves
Salt and pepper
Little bit of butter
Drizzle of sunflower oil
The potatoes should be washed but not peeled and added to a pot of cold, slightly salted water. They should be put on a high heat until the water starts to boil. The heat should then be reduced and they should be simmered for thirty minutes.
When the potatoes start to boil, the oven should be put on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6. A little oil should be drizzled on to a sheet of tinfoil. This is purely to stop the skin of the coley fillet from sticking. The fillet should then be placed on the foil, skin side down, and seasoned with salt and pepper. The foil should be wrapped in to a loose but sealed tent and placed on to a baking tray. The coley fillet should be put in to the hot oven for fifteen minutes.
The peas will take three minutes to cook in boiling water. They should be put in to the already boiling water to cook while the potatoes are drained and returned to their pot. The butter and coarsely chopped mint leaves should be added and the potatoes gentlty swirled around to obtain even coating.
The coley fillet should be removed from the oven, carefully unwrapped and transferred to the serving plate with a fish slice. The peas should be drained and plated, along with the potatoes. The flesh of the coley should peel easily from the skin with a fork, as it is eaten.
Curried Coley Fillet with Fried Rice
1 coley fillet
3 oz basmati rice
2 tsp curry sauce
2 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour
2 large lettuce leaves
2 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp dark soy sauce
Salt and pepper
The first step is to cook the rice. There is nothing at all complicated about preparing fried rice but where most people go wrong is that they don't cook it first by boiling it and allow it to cool completely before frying it. The rice should be washed through a sieve under running cold water before being added to a pot of boiling, slightly salted water. It should be stirred briefly to help prevent sticking and simmered for twelve minutes. The rice should be drained through the sieve, spread out on a plate, covered and left to cool for around an hour.
When the rice is cool, the flour should be seasoned and spread out on a plate. The coley fillet should be patted in it on the skin side only and the excess flour gently shaken off. A little sunflower oil should be brought up to a medium heat in a non-stick frying pan and the coley fillet placed in, skin side down. The fillet should be fried for around four minutes until it can be seen from the side to have cooked most of the way through. The curry sauce should be spread over the flesh side of the coley before the fillet is turned and cooked on that side for a couple of minutes.
As the coley fillet is cooking, the rice should be fried. Two tablespoons of sunflower oil should be added to a very hot wok and allowed to reach a high heat. The rice should be added and stir fried over maximum heat for around three minutes. The soy sauce should be added and quickly stirred through seconds before the rice is removed from the heat.
The salad should be arranged on the serving plate and the rice packed in to a small serving bowl lined with clingfilm. The bowl should be upended on the plate and lifted clear. The clingfilm should easily peel away.
The coley fillet should be served on the bed of lettuce, skin on or off, depending on preference. The skin should be nicely crisped and easily lift away.