This master recipe can be used for most round fish, e.g. haddock, pollock, grey sea mullet, ling, hake, etc. Salmon and sea trout are delicious done in this way or with a mixture of fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, fennel, lemon balm and chives.
Melt the butter in a pan. Fry the onion gently for a few minutes until soft but not coloured. Put the cod in the pan and cook on both sides for 1 minute. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add bay leaves. Cover with cream or creamy milk and simmer with the lid on for 5–10 minutes, until the fish is cooked. Remove the fish to a serving dish. Bring the cooking liquid to the boil and lightly thicken with roux. Whisk in the remaining butter or Hollandaise as an enrichment, check the seasoning. Coat the fish with sauce and serve immediately.
This dish can be prepared ahead and reheated, and it also freezes well. Reheat in a moderate oven 180°C/350°F/Gas 4, for anything from 10–30 minutes, depending on the size of the container.
For a delicious starter, put the cod with it’s sauce into scallop shells which have been piped around the edge with a little ruff of Duchesse potato. For a dinner party the Duchesse potato can be piped around a large serving dish with the cod in the centre. Garnish with bay leaves before serving.
© 2001 Darina Allen. All rights reserved.