Cod au Gratin
One of Newfoundland’s classic recipes that we still consume today is “Cod au Gratin”. Back in the day, the original recipe consisted of; cod, butter, flour, milk, onion, bread-crumbs and salt & pepper to taste, the dish was garnished with bread-crumbs and baked.
As the story goes, one evening, a St. John’s hotel kitchen ran out of bread-crumbs and used grated cheese instead. It was an instant hit, people loved it and requested it ever since.
There are many variation of this dish, utilizing different cheeses, bread-crumbs, percentages of milk, cream, spices or a combination thereof. One has to be very careful not to stray too much from the original recipe before the taste changes and becomes a different dish.
My recipe below, with the additional ingredients and an alternative method of cooking, enhances the taste, making the white sauce creamier (without cream) with a velvety consistency that stimulates the palette. Give it a try; let me know how it turns out.
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 lb fresh cod (cut in cubes)
- 1 med onion (finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 sm carrot (finely chopped)
- 1 sm celery stalk (finely chopped)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups 2 % milk (hot)
- ½ cup fine breadcrumbs
- ½ cup shredded old cheddar
- Salt & pepper
Season cod and set aside.
In a skillet, low-med heat, cook onion, garlic, carrot and celery in butter until onion becomes translucent and soft. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook roux for 3-4 minutes (do not brown).
Pour in hot milk and whisk until mixture thickens. Season to taste. Add cubed cod and stir. Remove from heat and let fish mixture rest for 2 minutes.
Pour cod mixture in a casserole dish or individual dishes. Sprinkle with bread-crumbs and shredded cheese. Bake at 375F for approx 20-25 minutes or until sauce starts to bubble and bread-crumbs and cheese browns. Serve with your favourite vegetable.
caubeen – a cap or hat