Super fish and cider supper: Baked cod with mushrooms
Cod, haddock or pollock can all be used in this simple fish and cider dish. They’re all members of the cod family and – importantly – they’re also on the Marine Stewardship Council ‘Fish to Eat’ list. North Sea cod was certified sustainable in mid-2017.
When you’re buying cod steaks check that the skin is bright and clear. The shoulder end of the fish is best. Cod and haddock are available all year round. The smaller, softer-fleshed pollock is more of a summer fish because it moves into deeper waters in the winter. This goes really well with garlic ‘bashed’ potatoes and a dry cider.
Cooking time: 20 min at 350oF/180oC/Gas Mark 4
4 Cod steaks (allow 175-200g per serving)
150ml dry cider
1 small onion or 4 shallots
1 clove of garlic (3, if you’re making bashed potatoes)
2 large carrots, julienned
250g button or chestnut mushrooms
2 tbsp plain white flour
Chicken or vegetable stock to make up 300ml with fish juices
600g new potatoes (optional)
Put the fish in a buttered baking dish. Pour in the cider and dot the fish with butter and season it. Bake the for 20 minutes uncovered. The fish should flake easily with a fork. Lift it off the skin with fish slice and put the fish on a plate. The pan juices go into a measuring jug so that you can combine them with the stock.
To julienne the carrots, cut them into lengths of about 4cm then slice them thinly and again into thin matchsticks. Alternatively, grate them and then split the gratings with a knife.
Sauté the onions and garlic for about five minutes then add the carrots and mushrooms. Cover them with a piece of greased/buttered baking parchment and a lid and cook them gently until the vegetable are just tender. Then pour them and the juices into a bowl. Use the same pan to make a sauce with melted butter, flour and the combined fish juices and stock. Simmer this to make sure the flour is properly cooked in. Flake the fish and add it, the vegetables and juices to the sauté. Season, add a squeeze of lemon and serve sprinkled with parsley.
If you’re having bashed potatoes with this fish and cider recipe, new potatoes are ideal. Leave small ones whole or cut bigger ones into thumb-sized pieces. Pour boiling water over them and then bring them back to the boil. When they are soft but not falling to pieces stir in a little butter or olive oil, salt and crushed garlic. Bash them with a masher or wooden spoon but stop short of mashing or creaming them.
1. Heat oven to 350oF/180oC/Gas Mark 4.
2. Butter baking tin and place the fish steaks in it. Pour in the cider. Dot the fish with about 15g of butter and season it.
3. Bake it for 20 mins.
4. While the fish bakes, peel and chop the onions/shallots, carrots, mushrooms, and parsley and peel and crush the garlic.
5. Then, lift the fish out of the pan leaving the skin behind in the pan, and put it to one side.
6. Pour the juices into a measuring jug and add enough chicken stock to make 300ml.
7. Melt the 40g of butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and sauté the onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes.
8. Add the carrots and mushrooms.
9. Grease the baking parchment with butter. Put it over the pan, butter-side down, and put the lid on. Cook this gently until the vegetables are just tender. Then put them into a bowl with the juices.
10. If you are having garlic bashed potatoes, put them on to boil (see above).
11. Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Stir in the flour and cook it for a minute. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the fish and chicken stock, stirring to remove any lumps. Return it to gentle heat until it thickens and simmer it for a few minutes.
12. Flake the fish and add it with the vegetables to the sauce. Season it, add lemon juice to taste and sprinkle it with parsley. (And the potatoes if you’re having them).