Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Olive Oil Hunter News #161

pan-sauteed cod

Pan-Sautéed Cod Recipe, Spotlight on Pan, No-Waste Lemon Rinds, Breakfast for Your Brain and Exercise Can’t Undo the Heart Risks of Sugary Beverages

Do you shy away from making fish at home? It doesn’t have to be tricky. What’s more, fish is not only tasty, but also fast to prepare. Cod is a meaty yet mild fish, and when you buy the tenderloin, or central portion, it all cooks evenly—no worries about the thin end drying out while waiting for the thicker portion to be done. This week’s studies are both food-related, but in different ways. You’ve often heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and a new study serves up some proof, while another offers more evidence of the downside of sugary drinks.

Pan-Sautéed Cod

  • pan-sauteed cod Pan-Sauteéd Cod

    This simple prep creates a delicious sauce for the fish, and it cooks in a single pan. If you can’t find wild-caught cod, you can substitute another white-fleshed fish, fresh or frozen, preferably sustainably caught. There are now wonderful online fishmongers that ship expertly frozen fish to your door.


    • 1-1/2 pounds cod, loin cut
    • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
    • 1/2 cup white wine 
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/2 lemon
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


    Step 1

    Use paper towels to thoroughly pat the fish dry; season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and then the fish, skinned side up. Arrange the garlic and cherry tomatoes around the fish and cook for 8 minutes (overall cooking time will be longer than for a thin fillet). Use a wide spatula to flip the fish, then add the wine. After 3 minutes, cover the pan, lower the heat to medium, and continue cooking until cooked through, about another 5 minutes.

    Step 2

    Take off the cover, add the butter, squeeze the lemon over the fish and tomatoes, and sprinkle with the oregano. Once the butter melts, spoon the sauce over the fish, then transfer to a serving platter for an elegant presentation or slice into individual sections and plate. (If you’d like a thicker sauce, remove the fillet and turn up the heat, cooking the sauce until it reduces.)

    Step 3

    Serve with the tomatoes, pan sauce, and a drizzle of olive oil.

    Yields 4 servings

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Cozy up to Cod

Healthy Ingredient Spotlight

Cozy up to Cod

A mild fish, cod is a great choice if you want to expand beyond salmon and tuna. It doesn’t have the amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in those fatty fish, but it does have about a gram or so per serving. A great source of protein, plus important nutrients like vitamin B12 and selenium. it’s also low in mercury, a concern when it comes to fish like swordfish and king mackerel.

Because cod will take on the flavors of your recipe’s other ingredients, it lends itself to many cuisines. The center cut or loin, sometimes called the tenderloin, cooks evenly since it’s of a uniform thickness, plus it typically comes boneless and skinless. For the most nutrients and environmentally friendly cod (as well as any type of fish), look for fish that’s fresh or flash-frozen wild caught or certified as sustainably sourced.

Quick Kitchen Nugget: No-Waste Lemon Rinds

Quick Kitchen Nugget

No-Waste Lemon Rinds

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways besides composting to use up lemon rinds. Here are some ideas:

Make candied lemon peels. These are a delicious treat and a festive garnish for many desserts. You can easily adapt my candied orange peel technique to lemons (and any other citrus rinds).

Mix up a household cleaner. Fill a spray bottle halfway with distilled vinegar and add the rinds of a lemon or two. Wait a week and then top off the bottle with water. 

Refresh your cutting boards. This is a great use of lemon halves that still have some juice left. Sprinkle your board with salt and then use the cut side of a lemon to make a paste with the salt. After 5 minutes, use the edge of a wide metal spatula or bench scraper to scrape off the paste. Give the board a quick water rinse and pat dry.

Add a citrusy aroma to your home. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add lemon rinds, and simmer for 10 minutes or longer.  

For Your Best Health: Breakfast for Your Brain

For Your Best Health

Breakfast for Your Brain

Despite the age-old cliché that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, there hasn’t been a lot of definitive research to support why this might be. Now a Danish study has found that a very specific type of breakfast, one that’s rich in protein, may leave you feeling more satisfied and improve your concentration for the day ahead. 

The study followed 30 obese women, ages 18 to 30, for three days, during which time the women ate either a protein-rich breakfast, a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, or no breakfast at all. The women’s sense of satiety, hormone levels, and energy intake were measured at lunchtime, along with their total daily calorie intake. They also completed a cognitive concentration test during the study.

“We found that a protein-rich breakfast with skyr and oats increased satiety and concentration in the participants,” said Mette Hansen, PhD, associate professor in the department of public health at Aarhus University in Denmark and one of the authors of the study. Several of the subjects even had a hard time finishing the entire protein-rich breakfast!

“It’s intriguing that there can be such a big difference in the satiety effect of two different meals with the same calorie content. Had the women in the project been allowed to choose the size of the meal themselves, it’s likely that they’d have consumed more food and thereby more calories on the day they were served bread and jam than on the day they were given skyr and oats,” Dr. Hansen said. 

Although the study provides important insights, it also has its limitations because only overweight young women participated, and it was based on relatively short-term observations, leaving open the question of how long-term dietary changes can affect health and weight. The researchers are already in the midst of a study looking at the differences between a high-protein breakfast and a low-protein breakfast on body composition and other measures such as microbiota and cholesterol levels.

The study, “A dairy-based protein-rich breakfast enhances satiety and cognitive concentration before lunch in young females with overweight to obesity: A randomized controlled cross-over study,” was published in the Journal of Dairy Science.

Fitness Flash: Exercise Can’t Undo the Heart Risks of Sugary Beverages 

Fitness Flash

Exercise Can’t Undo the Heart Risks of Sugary Beverages 

Despite all the benefits of physical activity, it can’t neutralize the risks of cardiovascular disease (the world’s leading cause of death) associated with drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, according to the new study “Sugar-sweetened or artificially-sweetened beverage consumption, physical activity, and risk of cardiovascular disease in adults: A prospective cohort study,” published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars in the North American diet. “The marketing strategies for these drinks often show active people drinking these beverages. It suggests that sugary drink consumption has no negative effects on health if you’re physically active. Our research aimed to assess this hypothesis,” said study co-author Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, PhD, professor at the Université Laval in Canada.

For the study, scientists looked at two groups of participants, totaling around 100,000 adults, who were followed for about 30 years. The data show that those who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages more than twice a week had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, regardless of their physical activity levels.

The study found that even the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity said to protect against cardiovascular disease is not enough to counter the adverse effects of sugar-sweetened beverages. “Physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with sugar-sweetened beverages by half, but it does not fully eliminate it,” Dr. Drouin-Chartier said.

The frequency of consumption considered in the study—twice a week—is relatively low, but still significantly associated with cardiovascular disease risk. With daily consumption, the risk of cardiovascular disease is even higher. For this reason, Dr. Drouin-Chartier underlined the importance of targeting the omnipresence of sugar-sweetened beverages in the food environment, a category that includes soft and carbonated drinks (with or without caffeine), lemonade, and fruit cocktails. The study did not specifically consider energy drinks, but they also tend to be sugar-sweetened. 

For artificially-sweetened drinks, often presented as an alternative solution to sugar-sweetened beverages, consumption was not associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. While replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with diet drinks is better in some respects because it reduces the amount of sugar, Dr. Drouin-Chartier reiterated that the best drink option remains water.

“Our findings provide further support for public health recommendations and policies to limit people’s intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as to encourage people to meet and maintain adequate physical activity levels,” added lead author Lorena Pacheco, a research scientist in the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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