At just around 89 calories per 3-ounce fillet, cooked Atlantic cod is a nutrient-dense food that can easily be incorporated into a healthy diet. The 3-ounce serving is high in protein, calcium, potassium and vitamin B-6, yet low in sodium, fat and carbohydrates. While deep frying that cod fillet may make for a tasty fish sandwich, it turns your healthy fish into a waistline wrecker. Bake it with a panko breading for a crisp crunch without all the fat and calories.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line the bottom of a shallow baking dish with aluminum foil. The foil will prevent the cod from sticking to the pan while in the oven.
Pour your panko breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl or dish. Allow at least 1/4 cup of panko per cod fillet. Add any additional seasonings you might desire, such as parsley, paprika or garlic.
Crack three egg whites into a bowl and stir gently with a fork. The egg whites will help the panko breadcrumbs stick to the fish fillet. If you prefer not to use egg whites, you might also use mustard, low-fat milk or olive oil.
Sprinkle a bit of salt and ground pepper on top of each cod fillet. Feel free to omit the salt if you are trying to eliminate sodium from your diet. Black pepper, however, is a relatively healthy way to add a bit of extra flavor to the dish.
Dip a cod fillet in the egg mixture, evenly coating both sides of the fillet. Once coated, immediately place the fillet into the panko breadcrumbs. Use your fingers to gently press the fish into the panko, helping the breading adhere to the fish. Be sure to coat both sides of the fillet with the panko.
Arrange the breaded cod fillets on the aluminum foil-covered baking dish with the skin side down. Allow at least 1 to 2 inches between fillets, if possible.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the oven, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside while you preheat the broiler.
Broil the cod fillets under direct heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Although this step is not absolutely necessary, it will help the breadcrumbs crisp up.
Remove to a serving dish. Squirt some lemon juice across the top of each breaded cod fillet before serving, or onto the plates if you want to ensure the crispiest fish possible but still get some added zing from the lemon.
A food thermometer can help you determine whether your fish is cooked to an appropriate internal temperature. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends cooking all types of fish to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.