Dinner is infinitely more relaxing when you don’t face a sink full of dishes the minute you finish. Sheet pan dinners, it might be said, are the glass of wine that takes the edge off: with only one pan to clean, you can hang out at the table longer, talking and laughing, or get to your favorite show faster. A sheet pan dinner relieves that pressure to get the cleanup going so you can finish at a decent hour.
The key to making a great sheet pan dinner is to work in stages. Don’t throw all your ingredients on the pan at the same time, or you’ll end up with crunchy potatoes or greyed-out, mushy green beans. You build a great sheet pan meal by first roasting the longest cooking item, and adding each ingredient according to how long it takes to cook. Be sure, when roasting vegetables, not to crowd them on the pan, or they will steam rather than roast — which means your potatoes won’t get that nice crisp browned skin, and the green bean flavor won’t intensify the way it does when they are roasted. Once you add the cod, the pan can be a little more crowded, which allows the fish to both steam and roast, and keeps it moist and tender.
This complete, well-balanced dinner takes only about 30 minutes to cook, and requires minimal preparation. The mild fish is flaky and moist with a crunchy topping, the potatoes are creamy with a nice crust and the green beans are crisp-tender. It’s a triple win to get such a great, healthful meal with so little effort — and minimal cleanup.
Sheet Pan Cod, Potato and Green Bean Dinner
3/4 cup panko (regular or whole wheat) bread crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 pound potatoes, cut in 3/4-inch chunks
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
12 to 16 ounces green beans, trimmed
4 (6-ounce) cod fillets
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine the panko, melted butter, parsley and lemon zest in a bowl; set aside.
3. Combine the potatoes, onion and 1 tablespoon of the oil; toss thoroughly. Add the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and again, toss well. Place on the sheet pan in a single uncrowded layer. Roast 10 minutes, until the potatoes just start to soften.
4. While the potatoes cook, add the green beans to the now-empty bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. When the potatoes have roasted 10 minutes, slide them to one side of the pan and spread the green beans on the rest of the pan. Roast 5 minutes.
5. Season the cod with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Press the panko mixture evenly over the tops of the fillets. Slide the green bans over to the side of the sheet pan, and place the fish in the center. Roast until the potatoes are lightly browned and the fish flakes but is still moist, about 14- 15 minutes.
Makes 4 servings