These crispy pan-fried cod tongues are a traditional Newfoundland recipe that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or as a main dish with a side. They’re seasoned, lightly dredged in flour and fried until golden brown. Easy and delicious!
You read the recipe title correctly.
This is a recipe for cod tongues.
If you’re from Newfoundland, this is more than likely not odd for you.
If you’re not from Newfoundland, you may be a little perplexed. But, please stay with me here. They’re really yummy! Think of them as little cod nuggets; essentially, nuggets seasoned well, dredged in flour and fried in olive oil until crispy, golden brown and scrumptious.
You see, this is a traditional Newfoundland recipe. As you may have heard me say before, Newfoundland has a deep rooted history in the cod fishery. We have all sorts of recipes for cod in these parts, all unique and delicious.
What I particularly love about the concept of this recipe is that it uses a part of the fish that may often get overlooked. It’s using something aside from the most commonly used parts, like the fillets.
One random Saturday, hubby and I went to see my parents. It turned out to be an impromptu visit on a lovely sunny day and we ended up staying and enjoying a casual dinner of steamed mussels and, you guessed it, crispy fried cod tongues.
As dad was cooking, I watched closely, carefully taking note of everything he was doing and asking questions. I thought, it would be a great idea to share another popular recipe from where I’m from. So, suffice to say, I’m excited to be sharing this recipe with you all today!
Fan of traditional Newfoundland recipes? Try this cod au gratin recipe!
What Are Cod Tongues?
The cod tongue is actually a muscle in the cod fish neck, but they’re commonly referred to as the former.
What Do Cod Tongues Taste Like?
If you put it out of your head that it’s a tongue or neck muscle, it’s actually quite delicious. They’re meatier and denser than, say, the flesh or the type of meat you would get from a fillet.
What Size Should I Look For?
I prefer smaller cod tongues. I tend to find the larger ones more fatty and have somewhat of a jelly consistency in areas. Some people go for that, though.
How Many Do I Need?
I used about 1 pound in this recipe. The actual quantity that makes up that pound can vary, depending on their size.
Since I opted for those on the smaller size, my pound comprised about 35 to 40 pieces. However, on average, there would be roughly 30 tongues in a pound.
Bottom line: Allow for 6 to 8 cod tongues per person for an appetizer. If enjoying as a main, you may want a couple more, plus a side dish.
Ingredients Needed for This Recipe
- Cod tongues (of course)
- All-purpose flour
- Salt and any seasoning you like (I used a lemon pepper seasoning blend. If you aren’t using that, add some black pepper)
Traditionally, people often fry cod tongues in rendered pork fat. I prefer to use oil. Use what you enjoy best!
How To Make This Cod Tongue Recipe
Full details are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:
- Give the tongues a little wash under fresh, cold water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place them in a bowl and add salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and lemon pepper seasoning. Coat cod tongues well. Note: Most times, you’ll find cod tongues seasoned with just salt and pepper. The extra seasoning adds something special.
- Place some flour in a bowl and dredge each cod tongue in the flour, shaking off excess. Dad’s tip is to dredge one a time. However, in a pinch (or if you’re making a big batch), you could place half of the cod tongues in a food-safe plastic bag, add flour, and shake to coat. Repeat with other half.
- Place the flour-dredged cod tongues on a plate as you are coating them.
- Heat some oil in a skillet.
- Add some cod tongues to the skillet and cook on one side.
- Carefully flip each cod tongue and cook on the other side.
- Once they’re cooked, transfer them to a serving plate. If you like, you can give the them another sprinkling of salt while they’re hot. Cod tongues are delicious enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon and tartar sauce.
Note: You’ll want to cook the cod tongues in batches, replacing the oil, as necessary, between batches.
Can I Make These Ahead of Time?
This recipe comes together super quickly and are best enjoyed as soon as they are made while they are fresh and crispy.
What To Serve With Cod Tongues
As mentioned above, I love to serve cod tongues with some fresh lemon and tartar sauce for dipping. Some hot sauce would also be lovely.
You can certainly enjoy as they are, but if making things more of a meal enjoy with:
More Traditional Newfoundland Recipes
If you make this traditional Newfoundland cod recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
Cod Tongues (Traditional Newfoundland Recipe)
- 1 pound cod tongues, about 35 to 40 small cod tongues (see "Notes," Point "2" below)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil, approximately (to fry cod tongues)
- Lemon wedges, for serving with (optional)
- Tartar sauce, for serving with (optional)
- Wash cod tongues with some cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place cod tongues in a bowl (or food-safe plastic bag) and sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning blend, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt over top. Seal bag and gently shake to coat the cod tongues in the seasoning.
- Dredge cod tongues in flour (can do one at a time or place flour in a bowl or food-safe plastic bag and do multiple at a time).
- To cook cod tongues, heat olive oil or vegetable oil (about 2 teaspoons or so) in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Note: Cook the cod tongues in batches (you'll have about 2 to 3 batches) and don't overcrowd the pan. Add more oil between batches as necessary.
- When oil is hot, add cod tongues, about 12 cod tongues or so per batch. Cook 5 minutes on one side.
- Flip cod tongues to the other side and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until cod tongues are cooked through.
- Transfer cooked cod tongues to a plate (you can then sprinkle with a little more salt, if you like).
- Repeat process to cook remaining cod tongues.
- After they've all cooked, transfer the cod tongues to a serving platter.
- Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce. Makes 4 appetizer servings or can be enjoyed as a main with a side.
- Cook time is about 10 minutes per batch (or until cooked through). Total cook time of 30 minutes is based on doing 3 batches, each at 10 minutes.
- I used one pound in total of small cod tongues. The number of tongues in a pound could vary, if the ones you use are larger. Since I opted for those on the smaller size, my pound was about 35 to 40 pieces. However, on average, there would be roughly 30 tongues in a pound.
- Don’t have lemon pepper seasoning? You could use just salt and pepper, along with paprika and cayenne or simply salt and pepper. Alternatively, use just your favourite seasoning blend.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
Tried this recipe?
If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!