Sauteed Cod with Bitter Melon & Clams Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

Cod is native to the United States, and was how many early settlers made their fortune.  It’s still a great option for seafood.  You can buy sustainable cod from the Gulf of Maine.  Check out Fish Watch for more information about sustainable fish.

Even though this dish has many ingredients, it’s easy to put together.  It is a great, healthy dish to celebrate the new year.  If you can’t find bitter melon, substitute an equal amount of zucchini or okra.

Prep Details

Servings: 4


Sauteed Cod

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Four 6-ounce cod fillets, skin on

1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tbsp ketjap manis(an Indonesian soy sauce, you can substitute regular soy sauce)

Juice of 2 limes

Bitter Melon and Calms

1/4 pound pancetta, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

2 cups peeled, pitted, and diced bitter melon(1/4-inch dice)

2 tsp Sambal Oelek

1 lb littleneck clams, cleaned

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup dry white wine

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup baby spinach

Juice of 2 limes

2 tbsp chopped cilantro


Photo: Jay Erickson

For Cod:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cod fillets, skin side down, and saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Turn and saute for another 3 minutes.

2. Add the butter, ketjap manis, and lime juice to the pan. Continue to cook, spooning the pan sauces over the cod, until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve with the bitter melon and clams.

For Bitter Melon and Clams:

1. Heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta, garlic, and onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the melon and sambal oelek and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2 minutes.

2. Add the clams, salt, chicken stock, and white wine and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the clams open, about 10 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, spinach, lime juice, and cilantro.