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Coley Recipes and Different Ways to Cook Coley

Updated on October 18, 2015
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Gordon has been cooking and experimenting with food since childhood. He loves coming up with new and tasty culinary creations.

What is Coley? Why Should I Eat Coley Instead of Cod or Haddock?

Coley is a type of fish from the same wider genetic family as both Atlantic cod and haddock. One big difference, however, between coley and its more illustrious cousins is that coley is presently deemed to be a sustainable type of fish, whereas both Atlantic cod and haddock are increasingly and desperately endangered. Coley is known by a great many different names, including also coalfish, saithe, cuddlings, pollock and many more.

The magnificent book featured in the right hand column of this page is also available from by clicking on the panel to the right. If you are in the UK, care about the sustainability of the fish you eat and want to find out more about which fish are sustainable and great ways to cook them, click to order your copy today!

Breaded Coley with Homemade Chips

Coley fillet is shallow fried in fresh breadcrumbs and served with homemade chips
Coley fillet is shallow fried in fresh breadcrumbs and served with homemade chips
Shallow frying the coley fillet
Shallow frying the coley fillet

Fish and chips is the UK's favourite fast food - bar none. It is also popular in many countries around the world. Unfortunately, cod and haddock are two of the most popular options for making fish and chips in the UK. Coley is an excellent substitute for cod or haddock when making fish and chips and this recipe shows how to easily prepare it from start to finish.

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: One


  • 1 large baking potato
  • 1 fillet of coley
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 small egg
  • 1/2 tomato
  • Lemon wedge
  • Sprig of fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil for frying


  1. *The way in which the chips were made in this recipe would considerably add to the preparation time. If you have the available time, however, this method is strongly recommended for best results.
  2. Peel the potato and slice and chop it in to large chips. Add the chips to a pot of cold water and place on a high heat until the water boils. Reduce the heat under the pot and simmer for five minutes. Drain through a colander and submerge in cold water for five more minutes before draining and transferring to a plastic dish and the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Use a clean tea towel to gently pat the chips dry. Deep fry for five minutes before draining on kitchen paper, covering and allowing to cool. Refrigerate in the plastic container for a further half hour. The chips will be given a final deep fry while the coley is being cooked.
  4. Spread the fresh breadcrumbs evenly on a large dinner plate. Break the egg in to a flat bottomed bowl, season with salt and pepper and beat lightly to combine.
  5. Add enough oil to a large, non-stick frying pan to comfortably cover the base and bring up to a medium heat. Draw the coley fillet through the egg and pat on both sides in the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process before adding the fillet to the pan to fry for around three minutes each side. As soon as the coley is in the pan, start the chips on their second spell in the deep fryer.
  6. When the breadcrumbs are beautifully golden and the fish is cooked, transfer to your serving plate. Drain the chips on more kitchen paper and add them alongside. Garnish with the sliced tomato, lemon wedge and sprig of fresh basil.

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Grilled Coley Fillet with Blueberry and Red Wine Sauce

Coley fillet is simply grilled (broiled) and served with a sauce made from blueberiies and red wine
Coley fillet is simply grilled (broiled) and served with a sauce made from blueberiies and red wine
Coley fillet ready to be grilled
Coley fillet ready to be grilled

This is the part where traditionalists throw up there hands in horror: red wine, with white fish?...

Why not? The idea that only white (or in certain circumstances, rose) wine should accompany fish is actually pretty much out of date, unless you happen to be a wine waiter with an unhealthy obsession with the 1970s. Granted, red wine would be likely to overpower white fish such as sole, plaice, even whiting. Coley, however, is a very robust and meaty fish, just like cod, more than capable of holding its own against a moderately full bodied red wine. Essentially, this recipe looks good and it tastes good - so what's the problem?

If you remain unconvinced about using red wine in this recipe but want to try a version of the blueberry sauce, try substituting the red wine with apple cider, or even white wine.

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: One


  • Fillet of fresh coley (skin on - very important)
  • Baby new potatoes (quantity as desired)
  • 2 oz trimmed green beans
  • 1 tbsp fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon in this instance)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 oz butter
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Wash the new potatoes and add them to a pot of cold, slightly salted water. Bring the water to a boil on a high heat before reducing to simmer for around twenty-five minutes, until the potatoes are softened.
  2. Around five minutes before the potatoes are expected to be ready, put the blueberries, red wine and sugar in to a small saucepan. Heat on a medium setting, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the blueberries burst and a lush sauce is formed.
  3. Take a half ounce of the butter only and break it in to small pieces. Use one piece to lightly grease a non-stick grill pan and lay the coley fillet, skin side down, on the greased area. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the remaining small pieces of butter at regular intervals over the top. Cook under a moderately hot overhead grill for four to five minutes until the coley just begins to flake and you can see it is cooked.
  4. Put one ounce of the remaining butter in to a small, non-stick frying pan and melt. Season well with pepper and add the green beans to fry for two or three minutes.
  5. Drain the potatoes and return them to the empty pot with the last half ounce of butter. Swirl gently to ensure even coating.
  6. Plate the coley fillet, potatoes and beans. Carefully spoon the blueberry sauce over the coley fillet and serve immediately.
21 Bespoke Scottish Fish and Seafood Recipes (21 Bespoke Recipes Series Book 2)
21 Bespoke Scottish Fish and Seafood Recipes (21 Bespoke Recipes Series Book 2)
Coley is a fish widely caught around the shores of Scotland and the recipes on this page were all prepared from Scottish coley. If you would like further details of modern, original Scottish fish and seafood recipes, this new e-book should be right up your street. Why not download your bargain copy today?

How to Skin a Coley Fillet - This is a necessary first step for many coley recipes

When you buy a fresh coley fillet from your fishmonger or supermarket, it is likely that the skin will be in place. For certain recipes - such as the grilled coley fillet above - this is essential, or the coley will break up during cooking. There are other recipes, however, where it is necessary the skin be removed. You could ask your fishmonger to do this for you but with a little bit of practice, the process is not difficult.

Lay the fillet skin side down on a hard, steady surface. Make sure that you are using an extremely sharp, flexible filleting knife.

If you have a tail fillet, start at the narrow, pointed end. If you have a fillet of a more uniform shape, take your pick.

If you are right handed, you are going to start at the left end of the fillet. Place the knife about an eighth of an inch above the skin and cut down at an angle until you reach but do not penetrate the skin. This will give you a little bit of skin to hold. Grab this piece of skin and hold it firm with your free hand. Turn the knife parallel with the skin (facing away from you) and gently pull the skin as you make a smooth, sawing motion with your knife, feeling and scraping the skin as you go. The gentle pressure and the sharpness of your knife should remove the skin effectively in a matter of a few seconds.

Do take your time as you try this on the first few occasions. It is a technique which you will suddenly master and perform more quickly as your skill develops.

Important: Remember safety procedures and ensure that the blade of the knife is always pointing and moving away from your body.

Coley Fish Curry with Naan Bread

Delicious and succulent coley fillet in a rich curry sauce
Delicious and succulent coley fillet in a rich curry sauce
Supermarket bought naan bread
Supermarket bought naan bread

Fish curry is delicious and of course incredibly versatile in terms of the ingreients you can include. The curry sauce used in this recipe was bought in a glass jar from the supermarket but if you have a recipe of your own you wish to apply, coley is the perfect inclusion.

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: Two


  • 1 lb coley fillets (skinned)
  • 1 lb jar of curry sauce
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 naan bread
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Fresh herb of choice for garnish


  1. Skin your coley fillets, following the technique described above, and chop in to one inch chunks. Peel and quarter the onion. Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves.
  2. Add the oil to a hot wok and bring up to a fairly high heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry off for a couple of minutes before adding the curry sauce. When the curry sauce starts to simmer, add the coley and continue to simmer for five or six minutes.
  3. The naan bread was also bought from the supermarket and you should follow the instructions on the packet for heating it. This usually takes only a few minutes and should be done while the curry is simmering. Alternatively, you may choose to make your own naan bread, which is fairly straightforward but will of course add to your preparation and cooking times.
  4. Serve your curry in large bowls, with the naan bread on a separate serving plate.

If you have never eaten coley or this fish by whatever name you happen to know it, hopefully you will now be convinced to give it a try. Essentially, it can be used in just about any recipe which calls for cod, haddock or any other white, meaty fish.

Thank you for visiting this page and any comments which you have may be left below. The further coley recipe links are to be found immediately below this section. They are more than worth checking for further delicious coley recipes.


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