Cod Cheeks with Grits and Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

I’ve been M.I.A. this summer, as I have been settling into my new role as the Customer Success Manager at Wulf’s Fish. On top of customer service and marketing duties, I have been developing some new seafood recipes to put on our website. This one that I worked on earlier this summer I saved for my blog.

At Wulf’s, we sell seafood that has been super frozen. The freezing at very low temperatures helps to maintain quality, and even makes it safer to eat, especially for fish prone to parasites. Frozen fish gets a bad reputation, but when handled properly frozen fish can be fresher than a lot of the “fresh” fish on the market. I acknowledge that this is my employer, but I have genuinely enjoyed subsisting primarily off of fish and vegetables all summer.

One of my favorite products from our shop is the cod cheeks. The cheeks on cod are tender morsels with the flavor of cod but the texture of scallops. They are a great choice when you want something like scallops without breaking the bank. This is an item that Wulf’s used to only supply to restaurants, but they were so popular during a special in the retail shop, they are now here to stay. You can get cod cheeks to make this recipe delivered to your door, as we ship nationally.

I paired the cod cheeks with a simple butter grits and a lemon-caper vinaigrette. Not being a Southerner, I won’t pretend to be an expert in making grits. I like the recipe linked below from Anson Mills, but you could prepare the grits however you prefer.

Cod cheeks, for when you want scallops on a budget


  • 1 prepared recipe Simple Buttered Coarse Grits
  • 1 pound cod cheeks 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  1. Before starting the grits, take the cod cheeks out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature and pat dry very well. When ready to cook, season all over with salt and pepper. 
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat a drizzle of canola oil over medium high heat. Add cod cheeks to the pan in a single layer. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until lightly brown. Remove to a plate to rest. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together capers, parsley, lemon zest and juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust level of acid if desired. 
  4. To serve, add a ladle full of creamy grits to the bottom of each bowl. Gently place cod cheeks on the grits and spoon dressing over the top. 

*Wulf’s Fish is my employer, but this post is not sponsored by the company or officially associated with them in any way. I do not receive any bonuses or commission from sales from the shop. I do, however, encourage you to give our fish a try.