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.
Yield – 4 servings
- 1 lb fresh cod (cut in cubes)
- ¼ cup butter
- 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 breadcrumbs (cubed)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar (old)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cube cod and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat butter over low-med heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté’ for 5 minutes. Add carrot and celery, sweat vegetables without letting brown (approx 5 minutes). Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook roux for 3-4 minutes, do not let it brown.
Slowly 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 375 degrees F 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
see also – Newfoundland Recipes