Cod au Gratin is a traditional Newfoundland dish with the star ingredient being, of course, cod! There’s a lovely little béchamel or white sauce covering the cod and then it’s topped with cheese and breadcrumbs (or in this case croissant crumbs….eeeek – YUM!) and all baked in the oven until it’s nice, bubbly and brown.
Hey guys; how’s it going? Have a nice weekend? Ours was great – the weather was lovely so we had a chance to sit on the deck after doing some yard work and have a beverage. It’s not exactly hot, but the sun was shining so I’ll take it! I think there’s a bird nest around us somewhere because we have more birds hanging around than usual. There’s this one little fella and he sits on the railing of our deck and just chills; he has visited multiple times and I can guarantee you one thing, he is eating well! Little guy is so big! I just love seeing them around.
We had some good eats this weekend, too. It was so funny….wondering what we were going to have for supper on Sunday I said to hubby ‘ I have a mad craving for cauliflower.’ He just did a double take and looked and me and said ‘I think that just may be the un-coolest thing you ever said.’ That’s ok; I’m comfortable with who I am, lol 😛 So funny, though. What can I say, I love cauliflower. I ending up making vegetable korma with cauliflower rice. I saw Jamie Oliver use cauliflower like this a while back and you just basically put the cauliflower florets in a food processor, pulse a few times until it kinda looks like couscous, put in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for a bit (I cooked for about 10 minutes and added some shredded coconut after it was cooked)…so easy, healthy & tasty and worked perfectly with the veg korma, soaking up all that sauce. Do you sometimes get a craving for a food or dish and obsess over it until you’ve had it? I do. Usually when I’ve had whatever it is, I’m good. Well, at least this craving is something healthy, not like the craving I had for fries, dressing & gravy a little while back 😀
Traditional Newfoundland Recipe
So what’s this ‘Traditional Newfoundland Cod au Gratin’ dish all about, you ask? Well, cod is the fish in Newfoundland. And Cod Au Gratin is among the most popular traditional dishes of the Province, without a doubt. You can find this dish made at some time or another in practically everyone’s home in Newfoundland. I’d say a 5 year old could probably make this one with their eyes closed it’s that common. Ok, not really, but you get what I’m saying.
How to Make Cod au Gratin
My Mother-in-law gave me these beautiful frozen cod fillets (shout out to Mom-in-law…..heeey!) and they went to good use in this dish. Au gratin anything is never a bad thing, is it? I mean, cheese covered whatever and baked? Sign me up! I like to add dill and lemon to my recipe. Not everyone’s version of Cod au Gratin has dill, but I love to add it because seafood and dill go hand and hand…just like dill and lemon or me and cupcakes 😀 It’s a definite seafood classic combo. A little twist that I like to do, too, just to take it one step further is to add lemon zest to the sauce. I find that the freshness of the lemon and dill really brighten the dish.
Another change-up that I did with this recipe for Cod au Gratin is instead of breadcrumbs I used crumbs from a croissant so you know that’s going to be good with all that buttery flavour! Butter is never a bad thing, in my opinion 😉 If you don’t have a croissant on hand, not to worry, bread crumbs will work just fine.
As I used frozen cod fillets, I like to put the fillets in the oven for a little bit to get rid of excess moisture. I find that cod, in particular, when frozen, releases a lot of moisture when cooked. By pre-cooking the cod, it gets rid of excess moisture so that lovely creamy béchamel sauce you have made doesn’t get watered down. Who wants a watered down anything? Certainly not me!
Or course, I made this in one big dish, but for presentation purposes it really looks nice cooked and served in little individual dishes. This recipe yields about 4 servings for dinner or 6 appetizer servings. It’s lovely for dinner with a simple garden salad and leftovers reheat well, so you can totally make ahead if you like.
I really hope you get a chance to try this Traditional Newfoundland Cod au Gratin recipe that is an iconic dish of where I am from. If you do get a chance to try, I’d love to hear how you like it! Until next time, have a great week and chit chat again soon 🙂
Traditional Newfoundland Cod au Gratin
- 1.5 lb cod -about 3 large fillets, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion -minced
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter -1/4 cup
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1.25 tsp salt -divided
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp lemon zest -reserve lemon for wedges (4) later
- 1 3/4 tsp dried dill -divided
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 croissant -made into bread crumbs or 1 cup bread crumbs
- In a small pot on stovetop heat milk on low. Preheat oven to 375F. Place cod in casserole dish and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt. Lay to one side until you make the sauce. See note below if using cod fillets that have been previously frozen, as in my case.
- Meanwhile, in another pot on stovetop, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Heat on medium low. Add onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- To onion, add butter; melt. Add flour and stir to form a paste. Stirring, cook for about 3-5 minutes. Slowly add milk to this (cup at a time), stirring until thickened about 2-3 minutes. Sauce mixture should coat back of a spoon. Mixture will be thick.
- To sauce mixture, add remaining salt, pepper, lemon zest and 1.5 tsp of dill. Stir to combine. Pour sauce mixture over cod, coating all fish. Stir to ensure mixture is incorporated well.
- Add cheese and croissant crumbs on top of sauced fish mixture. Bake for 40 minutes until brown and bubbly. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 tsp of dried dill over top. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!
If you are using frozen cod fillets (like I did), I recommend thawing and precooking a little to remove excess moisture. Preheat oven to 350F and place cod fillets in baking dish and cook for about 25 minutes. Carefully remove from oven, drain any excess liquid and tear the pieces of cod a little to break up. Continue with recipe. This is not necessary, but I find that it works well because you don't want the sauce to be watered down and runny.