Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Globecooking recipe : Newfoundland Cod Au Gratin #readcookeat

I'm always delighted to learn that a new Sgt. Windflower Mystery has been published, partly because I can't wait to snuggle under the duvet with my favourite Mountie (in a purely platonic, literary way of course - his heart belongs to Sheila !), but also because I know I'm probably going to get several great ideas for dinners and definitely some wonderful inspiration for desserts. If there's one thing that Sgt. Windflower loves as much as keeping his peaceful hometown of Grand Bank safe and sound, it's his food, so there's always a long list of things for me to try out in the Madhouse kitchen for the #readcookeat challenge.

I love learning about the traditional, regional dishes from around the world, so I have had great fun recreating Newfoundland Raisin Molasses Bread, Pea Soup with Dough Boys and Fried Fish with Scrunchions, amongst many other things. In the latest novel, A Tangled Web (click through for my review), there was a mention of another fishy dish that caught my eye.

p48 Marie, the long-time waitress, came by to take their order.

I'll have the cod au gratin and the turkey soup, to start, please" said Tizzard.

"Sorry, b'y. We're all out of the cod au gratin", said Marie.

Tizzard feigned great disappointment, but as Windflower knew, he would be happy with almost any kind of food, as long as it didn't focus on vegetables.

When I started to google, I didn't realise that this was part of the repertoire of iconic Newfoundland cuisine, but it seems to be a long-loved local classic. I read a number of online recipes, including one for Canadian Cod au Gratin at Genius Kitchen and Girl Heart Food's Traditional Newfoundland Cod Au Gratin, then I came up with my own twist, using what was in the Madhouse kitchen. The result, while not being much of a looker, is great comfort food, like a hug in a bowl, perfect for a chilly autumn evening.

 Newfoundland Cod Au Gratin

ingredients :

drizzle of olive oil/butter
1 onion 
2 leeks (not a traditional ingredient but it works really well)
some cod fillets
salt, lemon pepper/lemon zest, sumac (optional)
white sauce (butter, milk, flour)
grated cheese
dried breadcrumbs

Heat the butter or olive oil (or a bit of both) in a large frying pan and gently fry the onions and leeks until they start to soften.

Lay the cod fillets on top and continue to cook for a few minutes.

Break up the fish with a fork or a wooden spoon as you cook it, until it goes white all the way through.

Zesty citrus flavours work well with white fish, so I decided to add some of the sumac that I brought back from Turkey, which has a lovely sharp, lemony tang. It added great flavour but also gave it a slightly worrying pink colour that made the fish look very undercooked ! You could use lemon pepper or lemon zest, along with salt and pepper, instead.

 Make up your white sauce - I never bother weighing ingredients for this. I put in a couple of tablespoons of butter and a couple of tablespoons of flour, cook it until it creates a thick paste then add about half a pint of milk and bring it to the boil, whisking constantly, until it thickens up and creates a creamy sauce.

Transfer the fish mixture to an ovenproof dish, pour in the sauce and give it all a good mix.

Scatter a layer of dried breadcrumbs and grated cheese over the top and then off to the oven at 180° for about half an hour until the cheese has melted and the topping has gone golden brown.

My sauce, with a dark orangey-red colour from the sumac, bubbled up around the edges, but it made up in taste what it lacked in visual appeal !

Linking up with the #readcookeat challenge over at Chez Maximka


  1. Love the sound of this one. We don't eat fish often enough so will have to give it a try

  2. Lol @ snuggling under the duvet with a Mountie! Love the sound of this dish, I have never come across it before. I'd be happy to have a big bowl.

  3. I've never made this. We really need to eat more fish

  4. Cod and leek in a gratin sounds delicious. Which cheese do you use. Cheddar grated or Emmenthal grated.

    1. Either would work - any hard cheese in fact -and in the recipes I linked to above, someone said they used a mix of gouda, mozzarella & cheddar cheeses, so I think anything goes really !


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