Fried Cod With Diced Watermelon Chutney

Menu PartEntree
Cuisine TypeAmerican
fried cod with diced watermelon chutney

Chef Rebecca Peizer

Culinary Institute of America

St. Helena, Calif.

Fried fish is a popular preparation during Lent, but chef Rebecca Peizer of the CIA freshens up the dish by pairing it with two housemade condiments: watermelon chutney and tartar sauce. She uses cod fillets, but any firm-fleshed, flaky white fish fillets can work.


Fried cod

4 (5 oz.) cod fillets

Salt and pepper, to taste

1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating

1 cup cornstarch

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 to 2½ cups sparkling water or club soda

1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar

2 qt. vegetable oil

Watermelon slices


¾ cup finely diced red onion

½ cup rice wine vinegar

½ cup sugar

2 cups diced watermelon

1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced and seeded

1 tbsp. slivered fresh mint

1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Tartar sauce

½ cup grated watermelon rind

1 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup capers, chopped

1 tbsp. whole grain mustard


  1. Cut each fish fillet into two pieces.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt for the batter; set aside.
  3. For chutney: In large saucepan, combine onion, vinegar and sugar. Cook over medium heat until reduced by three-quarters.  Add watermelon and Fresno chile; continue to cook for 5 more minutes until thickened. Cool; stir in mint and cilantro. Strain any excess liquid as needed.
  4. For tartar sauce: Squeeze any excess water from watermelon rind. In bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until needed.
  5. For fish:  In mixing bowl, measure sparkling water and lemon juice. Stir in reserved flour mixture until just blended; do not overmix. Dry fish well, coat with flour, and dip into batter; set aside.
  6. Into deep fryer or saucepan, pour oil so that it reaches halfway up sides; heat to 350°F. Place fish into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt while warm.
  7. Serve fish with tartar sauce and the chutney. Garnish plate with watermelon slices.

Photograph courtesy of National Watermelon Board

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