Classic Cod au Gratin

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM
The terms au gratin or gratine refer to any dish that is topped with a white sauce (usually bchamel), cheese (usually cheddar or Gruyre) or bread crumbs mixed with bits of butter, and then heated in the oven or under the broiler until it gets brown and crispy. Special ovenproof gratin pans or dishes are shallow and usually oval-shaped, which increases the surface area to ensure a larger crispy portion for each serving.

Contrary to popular belief, a true gratin does not need to contain cheese (although cheese certainly adds to the flavour). Bchamel sauce, used in the classic French gratin, is a basic sauce made by whisking scalded milk gradually into a white flour-butter roux. The thickness of the final sauce depends on the proportions of milk and flour.

Potatoes, crab or scallops are often prepared au gratin, but the classic Newfoundland version of this dish is cod au gratin (potatoes prepared "au gratin" are often locally referred to as "scalloped," though the dish contains no seafood). This simple, hearty meal is truly a fantastic way to prepare fresh cod - something some of you may be catching yourself in this year's food fishery. It can be served with salad greens or steamed vegetables, and is versatile enough to have as a lunch or dinner item, an appet-izer or an entre. Here is my favourite recipe for cod au gratin. Classic Cod au Gratin

  • 1 lb cod fillets, cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375 F. Place cod in a greased baking dish. Make the bchamel sauce in a heavy saucepan by first melting butter, then stirring in the flour until smooth. Remove from heat and gradually stir in half the milk. Return to heat and beat until smooth and shiny. Gradually add remaining milk, salt, pepper and onion. Cook, stirring, until sauce is smooth and thickened. Pour sauce over fish and sprinkle breadcrumbs and cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes until sauce bubbles and cheese begins to brown, and fish is completely cooked.