Everything Newfoundland & Labrador with its Culture, Cuisine and Traditions

Salt Cod Pate

When nattering with the elders in my community, regarding Cod Pate, they pretty-well much agreed that they have been eating something similar to this for years. Most of them either called it “Fish Spread, Fish Cream or Fish Paste” and ate it on morning toast or a quick snack during the day. It was actually made from the cod dinner left-overs.

The recipe back then was relatively simple; salt cod, potatoes mashed, pork fat, onions, milk, seasoned with salt and pepper. All ingredients were blended in a cast iron skillet and stirred until the mixture was thick and creamy. They all agreed, it tasted like Fish Hash or Fish Cakes and was excellent as a spread on toasted bread. It was served hot or cold with fried salt pork.

See below, my version of their fabulous recipe.

Newfoundland Recipes-Salt Cod Pate1-www.saltjunk.comMakes – approx 2 cups


  • ½ lb salt cod (pieces or boned)
  • 2 lg potatoes (peeled, boiled & mashed)
  • 1 cup cream (35%)
  • 1 med onion (finely chopped)
  • 6 garlic cloves (sliced thin)
  • ¼ tsp ground thyme
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp chives (chopped in small pieces)
  • ¼ cup pork fat
  • Salt & pepper


Rinse and soak salt cod for a 24 hour period, changing water twice.

In a saucepan, bring cream, onion, garlic, thyme, ground cloves and bay leaf to a simmer for 8 minutes (or until onion and garlic are tender). Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Purée cream mixture with a food mill or an immersion blender until completely smooth.

Drain cod and discard soaking water. In a separate saucepan, cover cod with cold water and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes (do not bring to a boil, cod will become tough). Drain cod and add it, along with onion and garlic mixture and mashed potatoes to an electric mixture (fitted with a paddle). Mix on low speed for 3 minutes (or until all mixture is well combined).

Beat for an additional minute; adding chives and slowly pouring pork fat in a slow stream until mixture is well blended. Season to taste.. Serve as an appetizer with crusty bread, toast or crackers.

there’s no fish out there, I got a few – meaning less than half a boat load


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