This weekend – and the past few weeks – is/has been a big push to get out post-tornado kitchen reconstruction DONE. Well, not quite done-done … we won’t have the lumber for the cabinet faces and doors for a while, and those will take some serious time to make … but functional.
I haven’t had a functional kitchen since we bought this house, a year ago. The kitchen, as we bought it, was only barely functional – you may have seen the “before” pictures and description on twitter. Don’t worry, I’ll be posting the awful “befores” when I can finally post the “afters”!
This weekend is all about building the cabinetry to surround the slide-in oven, which has been free-standing since we moved in. By Monday, I should not only have the base cabinets, but tiled counter AND backsplash there, also. *CANNOT WAIT*. I’m not being facetious there, either. We’ve been discussing all of the great foods I haven’t been able to make in a long time, as well as the recipes I’ve been mentally designing ever since losing my kitchen. All of this takeout food… ugh.
|So, we went to the store to pick up groceries for the first couple of meals I’ll be able to make, and I used one of my new counters – and my freshly-installed sink area! – to make Cod au Gratin on Friday night. Aw yeah.
Cod au Gratin is a traditional Newfoundland dish, and one of my all time favorites. Generally speaking, it consists of cod, Béchamel sauce, and cheese / bread crumbs on top… but – of course – I started bastardizing it the first time I made it. Béchamel because a hearty cheese sauce, filled with tons of sharp cheddar. I’ve made this with dill, with asparagus, with bacon, and with other seafood involved. It’s just one of those recipes that I make by “feel”, and I’ve never written down measurements or anything as I’ve gone. Til now.
This version is for a good base cod au gratin – there’s a lot more going on in it than the basic, traditional recipe – but that’s how I like it. This version uses a lot of my favorite flavors to combine with fish – lemon, parsley, garlic, onions. Feel free to add or substitute items as you like… dill instead of parsley. Add some veggies. Change the cheese. Top with buttered bread crumbs or smashed potato chips… it’s a very versatile recipe!
Note: Yep, I’ve made this gluten free, because I’m self serving like that If you’re a purist, feel free to start this with a Béchamel sauce, rather than my milk-and-cornstarch base!
Cod Au Gratin
4 lbs boneless cod loins*
1/4 cup corn starch
4 cups milk
3 Tbsp prepared Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
1 small onion, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3-1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 cups shredded white cheddar
1 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut cod into 1″ pieces, arrange in a 9×13″ baking pan. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, whisk cornstarch with 1 cup of milk, until smooth and no lumps remain (floating, or stuck to the bottom edges of the pan. Add remaining milk, mustard, garlic, and onions, whisk till well incorporated. Heat over medium, until steaming.
Once sauce mixture starts to thicken, add lemon zest, parsley, and 1 1/2 cups of white cheddar cheese, stirring until thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour sauce over fish, stirring to coat and distribute evenly. Scatter remaining white cheddar cheese across the top of the fish mixture, followed by all of the Parmesan.
Bake – uncovered- for about 1 hour, or until fish is cooked through, and sauce is bubbly. Serve hot.
Makes 8-12 servings
* If using frozen fish, partially thaw it, cut it, then allow it to fully thaw and DRAIN before putting it in the baking pan.