The best way to have cod is the Newfoundland way. Fresh fillets are baked in a béchamel sauce, topped with croutons and parmesan cheese for an easy, healthy, family favorite. This cod au gratin will have you stocking your freezer with cod!
I remember the assignments I had to complete for my nutrition program. There were a lot of meal plans. But I also had to make little recipe pamphlets detailing the health benefits of the ingredients in the recipe. Everything had something good. The antioxidants and the vitamins and the ambiguous benefits like “helps protect against kidney cancer.”
I was really pumped about these random information pieces. I’d add fresh herbs to my dishes and extra turmeric because every nutritionist loves turmeric. At the table, my sister would always ask me to talk about the benefits of the food we were eating. “Well, it’s anti-inflammatory and really great for your gut health,” I’d start, in between mouthfuls, and if I remembered the specific vitamins in the food I’d throw those in too.
I always told myself I’d add health benefit info pieces to my blog posts if I ever were a food blogger. But now that I am I just think it’d be a little obnoxious.
As if by habit, I went to world’s healthiest foods.com and of course the list of health benefits of cod is too long. Between its awesome list of B vitamins, antioxidant protection from selenium and kick ass amount of protein, you pretty much want to fill your freezer with cod by the time you get to the section on omega-3 benefits.
And the thing is… this cod au gratin recipe is WAY TOO GOOD.
If you’re not a fish person, it will convert you. I can imagine it’s great for kids, as you can barely even detect a “fish” taste. In fact, it’s great for anyone. It will be my go-to for dinner guests from now on. You can leave the whole thing laid out in a oven safe dish and just pop it in the oven when your guests arrive.
And this is a great meal you can whip up in a jiffy! Now I buy frozen cod in bulk and just thaw them in cold water for 30 minutes, mostly while I make the béchamel sauce.
The recipe credit goes 100% to my amazing friend Elyse Mallay. This is a delicacy from Newfoundland, where she grew up; a big island in Canada where cod and fish are plenty. She threw in some shallots and lemon zest and dispensed with the cheddar cheese for a twist on this Newfie classic.
I fell in love with her cod au gratin when she served it on her grandma’s beautiful china, and fell in love it with a second time when I took a bite.
When I made it at home I served it with a side of spaghetti squash. Just baked spaghetti squash, tossed in a pan with a little butter and salt. I topped it with some of the extra sauce the cod was baked in. Heavenly.
- 1 pound cod fillets (about 4 fillets)
- ⅓ cup croutons
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup whole milk, warmed
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 2 teaspoons german mustard (you can use dijon or whole grain mustard)
- zest from one lime or half a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 big pinch white pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit
- In a small/medium sauce pan, sauté shallots in 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. About 3-4 min.
- Add remaining 1 tbsp butter and decrease heat. Add flour and whisk until fully incorporated. Slowly add warm milk while whisking constantly. As the sauce starts to thicken add lemon zest, mustard, salt, pepper and herbs (if using) and whisk until well blended. Add half the parmesan cheese onto the sauce and turn off heat.
- Grease an oven-safe dish and lay the fillets on the bottom.
- Pour sauce over the cod fillets.
- In a bowl mix croutons with olive oil and mash them up a bit.* Sprinkle mashed croutons over the dish and top with remaining parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.