Saturday, 9 June 2012

Cod Bake

This one is “the holy Grail”of dinner dishes… relatively cheap (depending where you buy your cod), nutritious, tasty enough to serve at a dinner party, easy to make AND it’s fish (maybe it’s just me, but don’t we all feel guilty that we don’t eat enough fish?). The flavours are quite simple, so children should enjoy it too (if they are less picky than mine).

This was first served to me by my very talented super-cook father, he regularly cooks a big casserole or bake for his 6 off-spring and partners at various family events, this dish is now a regular on the list, so you can scale it up very easily. The recipe comes from Darina Allen’s “Simply Delicious Fish”. 

For the bacon, I use the bacon “lardon” pieces available from various supermarkets in a wee packet – just by the by, these are a lot cheaper in Lidl / Aldi than the bigger, more luxury shops. Ideally, you could get a thick piece of streaky bacon from the butcher and chop it up yourself (as my dad does) as the big chunky bits of rasher are lovely in it… or you can go the easy route! I often just use a pack of streaky rashers and chop them with the kitchen scissors. I would recommend streaky over back rashers though – the fatty texture is rather the point (and really is not adding that much calorific content and a whole heap of taste). Fresh dill is also hard to come by, so I regularly just use a shake of the dried stuff – just don’t go too potty, remember you need a lot less dried herb than fresh.

Cod Bake (Darina Allen, “Simply Delecious Fish”)
serves 4

·         6 – 8oz bacon (preferably pancetta, otherwise streaky rashers, cut thickly if possible)
·         1 medium onion, diced
·         1½lbs of cod, skinned and boned (fishmonger will do this) – cut into 4 or 5 chunky pieces
·         1 tin of tomatoes
·         Bunch of fresh dill
·         ½oz butter
·         1oz breadcrumbs
·         4oz cheese, grated

  1. Fry the bacon, then the onion and spread the mixture across the bottom of an oven proof dish
  2. Layer the (raw) cod on top
  3. Layer the tomatoes on top again (remove some – about ¾ – of the juice first or the dish will end up too watery)
  4. Sprinkle fresh chopped dill on top (can use dried, but use less)
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 30 – 40 mins at 180ºC
  6. Melt the butter, add the crumbs and grated cheese and leave on a plate to cool
  7. Remove the foil, cover with the crumb mixture and grill for 5 minutes
  8. Serve with floury potatoes, or whatever you damn well please!

Margaret's Footnote.....

Sarah has been eschewing the virtues of this dish for quite a while now, so given that I had a few ridiculously cheap portions of cod in the freezer (€2.79 for two pieces in each packet - Lidl) I decided to cook the dish as an experiment. To add extra pressure I invited a friend for supper and off I went.
True to my usual style (I never follow a recipe exactly) I decided to add some chopped chorizo into the bacon/onion mix and I have to say it was absolutely delicious. In hindsight, one piece of cod each would have sufficed (it really is rather hearty and filling) but that's not a bad complaint...


ps I served mine with steamed new boiled potatoes, green beans and carrots!

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