Monday November 29, 2010
What is a scrod roll-up you might ask? Before I answer that I should remind you what scrod is. Traditionally, the strict New England definition of scrod, was "a young cod, split down the back and backbone removed, except for a small portion of the tail." Although the word sounds an awful like like "cod," the origins of the word scrod probably comes from the Dutch word "scrood," piece cut off. So while purists will claim that true scrod is a small 1 to 2 pound cod, today, it has also come to mean haddock, as well as other white fleshed fish.
Now to the roll-up part. This recipe is inspired by a classic Newfoundland dish, and one of my favorites, cod au gratin, which is basically pieces of cod baked in a creamy white sauce with cheese and topped with bread crumbs. A while back I was planning on cooking cod au gratin for my in-laws, however, when my wife's Uncle Jack returned from the market with some beautiful fresh fillets of scrod, I realized I had to make an adaptation as these fillets deserved to be left whole. While the package did not say if it was cod or haddock (although I am 99 per cent sure it was haddock) the fillets were definitely from a small fish, and thus would be identified as scrod by any modern definition of the term.
With all the ingredients for cod au gratin on hand, and a craving for a rich, creamy and cheesy sauce, I made these scrod roll-ups, which are essentially baked scrod pinwheels with a Mornay sauce or "inside-out cod au gratin," whichever you prefer. The recipe is really very simple, and takes no time to pull together. Served with some roasted potato slices and sauteed spinach with a balsamic maple reduction, and it made for a satisfying and elegant entree. I hope you give it a try.
6 thin scrod fillets (alternatively you could butterfly 3 thick pieces of cod in half lengthwise)
2 cups bread crumbs (fine homemade work best)
1 tsp dried savory
salt and pepper
fresh dill (optional)
1/4 cup butter (plus extra to greasing the pan)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk (2% or whole)
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and begin making the Mornay Sauce, which is nothing more than a standard white sauce (Bechamel) with the addition of cheese. Over a medium heat, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan, and add the flour. Make a roux by combining the flour and butter with a wooden spoon. Cook for a minute to "cook-out" the raw flour taste and begin adding the milk. Switch to a whisk and add the milk a bit at a time, stirring fairly frequently. Once you have added all the milk, it will take a couple of minutes for the sauce to reach the appropriate thickness. Add the cheese, stir and remove from the heat and set aside.
Grease a glass baking dish with a little butter and begin assembling your fish. Add the savory and a dash of salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs and lay your 6 fillets out on a work surface. Season each fillet with a little salt and pepper. Add a couple of tablespoons of the seasoned bread crumbs to the top of each fillet and spread evenly. Roll up each fillet in a tight little package and arrange in the baking dish. Top each roll-up with some of the Mornay sauce and top each with the remaining bread crumbs. Reserve about half of the Mornay sauce to finish the fish once it has cooked, and keep it warm on the side. If it gets too thick, thin it out with a drop of milk. Cook the scrod roll-ups in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the flesh flakes.
Plate the cooked scrod roll ups, spoon some of the warm Mornay over the top and garnish with some fresh dill and a wedge of lemon.
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About Me...The Wicked Newfoundlander
I'm originally from Newfoundland, Canada, and very proud of it! I moved to upstate New York in 2007, and I spend much of my time working and playing throughout New England. Besides my wife, our dog and hockey, I'm passionate about food. I love to cook and create great tasting food. I also love tasting and critiquing food, and comparing regional cuisine (notably Newfoundland and New England dishes).