Cod au Gratin is a traditional Newfoundland recipe with the star ingredient being, of course, cod! There’s a lovely little béchamel or white sauce covering the fish. Then, it’s topped with cheese and breadcrumbs and oven baked until bubbly and brown. So comforting and delicious!
Sharing an iconic Newfoundland recipe with you guys today – cod au gratin!
So what’s this traditional Newfoundland cod au gratin recipe all about?
Well, cod is the fish in Newfoundland. And cod au gratin is among the most popular traditional dishes of the province. You can find this recipe made at some time or another in practically everyone’s home in Newfoundland. It’s no wonder…it’s so comforting!
My Mother-in-law gave me these beautiful frozen cod fillets 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 so well together. It’s definitely a classic combo.
Another little twist that I like to do (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.
How to Make Cod au Gratin
Full details on how to make this traditional Newfoundland cod au gratin is in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:
- If using cod that has been previously frozen, pre-cook in a casserole dish and lay to one side (I find this helps because it reduces some of the water in the cod fish and your end result is not too wet).
- Cook onion on the stove top until softened.
- In a pot, make roux (flour/butter mixture to thicken sauce).
- Add milk to roux, cook until thickened a little, and season with salt, pepper, lemon zest and dill.
- Pour sauce mixture over cod, top with cheese and bread crumbs.
- Bake until bubbly and brown.
- Let cool slightly and garnish with additional dill.
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Can I Make This Ahead of Time?
Yep! Like most recipes, this is best enjoyed when it’s baked. However, it does reheat well. Keep in mind, though, it may be a little less moist if reheating.
If you want to prep the recipe up to the point before baking, go right ahead! Store, covered, in the fridge a day ahead and bake the next day. You just may have to bake a little longer (as it was in the cold fridge).
Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3 days.
What to Serve with Cod au Gratin?
- Lemon wedges are highly recommended.
- Hot sauce dabbled over top adds a little somethin’.
- Serve with a mixed green salad to really make this a substantial meal
- A thick slice of homemade bread. My favourite? Bread slathered in butter and drizzled with molasses. Trust me. It works with the cod au gratin.
Can This Recipe Be Served as an Appetizer?
Yes! Cod au gratin works as an appetizer as part of a multi course meal. Of course, it’s substantial enough to easily be a meal in itself.
For this recipe, I made in one big dish. However, 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.
More Tips & Variations for Making this Cod au Gratin Recipe
- You can use either frozen or fresh cod fillets. As mentioned, if using frozen cod fillets, pre-cook a little to get rid of excess moisture. I find that cod, 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. If you are using fresh cod, you don’t have to pre-cook before baking the cod au gratin.
- Croissant bread crumbs were used in this recipe, but bread crumbs would work great too.
- Want an even richer sauce? Use equal parts milk and half and half (or cream) instead of all milk.
- Dill was used in this cod au gratin and it works so lovely with the fish. If you rather not use it, you can omit. Another yummy herb is thyme.
- Let the cod au gratin cool for a little after it’s baked before digging in. This gives things a chance to cool down a bit and set.
Hope you love this cod au gratin recipe as much as we do!
If you make this traditional Newfoundland cod au gratin recipe, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed! Thank you!
Traditional Newfoundland Cod au Gratin
- 1.5 pound cod (boneless/skinless) , cut into bite-sized pieces (about 3 large fillets)
- 1.5 cups milk (use 2 cups if you want things more 'saucy')
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion , minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (¼ cup)
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1.25 teaspoons salt , divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (reserve lemon for wedges (4) for later)
- 1 ¾ teaspoons dried dill , divided (use less if you want less of a dill taste)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 croissant (made into bread crumbs or 1 cup bread crumbs)
- In a small pot on stove-top heat milk on low. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cod in casserole dish and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon 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 stove-top, add 1 tablespoon 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 to 5 minutes. Slowly add milk to this (½ cup at a time), stirring after each addition until thickened about 3 to 4 minutes or so. Sauce mixture should coat back of a spoon. Mixture will be thick.
- To sauce mixture, add remaining salt, pepper, lemon zest and 1.5 teaspoons of dill (you can use less, if you prefer). 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 ¼ teaspoon of dried dill over top. Let cool about 20 to 30 minutes before serving (don't skip this; it allows things to settle). Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.