Garlic lime cod with pickled red onions and celery salad is full of spring vibes with a brief homage to lingering winter! The light, celery-based salad is a burst of crisp + crunch enlivened by the cumin and coriander. Cod typically takes on the flavor of however it is prepared, and here, the garlic and lime do wonders to flavor the flaky fish.

Garlic and lime are a tried-and-true flavor pairing, and work their magic in this garlic lime cod. Topped off with the salty sweetness of the pickled red onions, garlic lime cod with pickled onions and celery salad is a bright and easy dish for any night of the week.

If you don’t have a cast iron grill pan (which I highly recommend investing in !), the garlic lime cod can be cooking on a regular cast iron skillet or baked on a sheet pan, but you won’t get those beautiful grill marks !


for the pickled red onions

  • 2 medium red onions, sliced into rings
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

for the celery and peas

  • 3 cups celery, sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 cups green peas
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed, toasted and ground
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 

for the cod

  • 2 5-6-ounce cod fillets
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated

pickled red onion steps

In a small pot, combine the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil. Place the sliced red onions into a mason jar and pour the hot mixture over it. Cover and close with a lid to ensure it makes a seal.

celery and peas steps

Place the celery and green peas in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground cumin, ground coriander, red wine vinegar, salt, and parsley until evenly combined. Evenly distribute the dressing over the celery and peas and let sit for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator to allow it to marinate. 

cod steps

In a shallow bowl or dish, lay the cod fillets out flat. Cover with the lime zest, lime juice, and garlic. Let sit for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Place the cod, skin-side down on the pan (you should hear that nice sizzle) and cook for 6 minutes. Carefully flip and cook on the other side for 5-6 minutes. If the cod does not release easily from the pan, it is not ready to be flipped. In this case, cook it for another minute or 2 then try flipping it again. The telltale sign that cod is finished cooking is when it begins to flake apart. Serve with the pickled red onions and celery salad. 

Growing up, we ate cod weekly. It was generously spiced and flaky and delicious. Nowadays, I turn to cod as a healthy base for a delicious meal any night of the week. It’s nearly foolproof to prepare and pairs well with really any flavor combination. I am partial to cooking it with pepper and smoked paprika, probably because I grew up eating it that way. Cumin adds a nice depth to the spices which, when seared, become crisp and aromatic. Paired with tahini cauliflower and chermoula, this seared cod is a winner.

Chermoula is a bright fragrant sauce hailing from North Africa which is generally made of garlic, fresh herbs, lemon, and spices. Though it is traditionally paired with fish, I could pretty much eat it on anything.

Cauliflower, as some may know, has been having a moment for a while now. We have seen it served as a substitute or used as the main event in all sorts of dishes. I remember having smashed cauliflower for the first time at a restaurant in Naples, FL back in 2003 during the height of the Atkins Craze. I personally love simple roasted cauliflower with tahini, so this pureed tahini cauliflower and chermoula is a way to access those flavors with a totally different texture.

Serves 2


for the fish and cauliflower puree 

  • 12-16 ounces of cod
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cups fresh parsley, leaves and stems
  • 2 tablespoons tahini

for the chermoula

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup parsley leaves and stems, packed
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, packed
  • ⅓ cup mint leaves 

fish and cauliflower steps

Place the fish skin-side up and gently pat on the paprika, cumin, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to evenly coat the entire side. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and add the shallot. Cook for 2 minutes then add the garlic. Add the cauliflower and cook, flipping the florets until they begin to turn golden and brown.

Heat a skillet over high and add the fish, spiced skin side down. Cook for 5-6 minutes then flip. A sign that the fish is done cooking on the first side is when it releases easily and does not stick to the pan. Cook for another 4 minutes on the other side. The fish is done when it begins to flake apart.

Add cauliflower, tahini, and ¼ cup fresh parsley to a food processor and blend until smooth. The consistency will be like that of hummus with specks of parsley evenly throughout. Serve with a generous spoonful (or two!) of chermoula.

chermoula steps

Place the coriander and cumin seeds in a saucepan and toast for 7-10 minutes until nutty and fragrant. Crush or add to a spice grinder. Add the toasted seeds, garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, smoked paprika, kosher salt, and crushed red pepper to a food processor or blender. Blend for a few minutes until evenly combined. Add the parsley, cilantro, and mint and process until smooth. Chermoula will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.