How to make Cod Mornay

Cod mornay is a nice and easy colourful dish of cod and potato.

I added spinach to my cod mornay for good health, that way I didn't feel quite as bad about eating the yummy cheese sauce and crunchy crumb topping!

Cod Mornay

Cod Mornay or Cod with Cheese Sauce, whatever you fancy calling it is delicious; a really comforting cod bake with a lovely cheesy sauce that will warm you up on the coldest of evenings. 

What is Cod Mornay?

Cod in a classic Mornay sauce made with Gruyère cheese and a crispy crumb and Cheddar topping.

We are greedy so I say this serves 2 but really it would do a family of 2 adults and 2 small kids. This is filling autumn or winter comfort food at it's best.

What is Mornay Sauce?

A Mornay sauce is a cheese sauce made in the same manner as a classic béchamel.

With the béchamel sauce over low heat, stir in gruyère cheese, Emmental, and white cheddar cheese, any melting cheese works, but those 3 are the classics.

Top Tip!

Because cod can be a large fish, the fillet is often too big for a single portion. It is, therefore, possible to buy the cod loin, which is cut from the middle section or fattest part of the fillet. 

The loins are short and fat compared to longer cod fillets and are more expensive, however, it really is worth buying cod loin for this as the last thing you want is to find bits of fish bones.

Panko Crumbs are the way to go! Panko is made from a crustless white bread that is processed into flakes and then dried.

They have a much dryer and flakier consistency than regular breadcrumbs, and as a result, they absorb less oil. Panko certainly produces lighter and crunchier tasting fried food. Available in any good supermarket.

How to make Cod Mornay

Add a little vegetable oil to a large frying pan and throw in the chopped shallots.
Cook for 10-15 five minutes or until they're nice and soft; you don’t want them to colour just soften.

Shallots cooking in a frying pan

Now add the spinach and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg - it will look like you have far too much spinach but trust me once it wilts, it'll be fine..

Spinach and shallots in a frying pan

Keep the spinach moving about in the pan and once it’s wilted (a minute or two) turn off the heat and leave to one side.

See what I mean, once the spinach has wilted it looks like you don't have enough!
 
Spinach once it has wilted

In another (much smaller frying pan) heat up the 250ml of milk and then put the cod in along with a bay leaf and the peppercorns; you’ll know when the cod is cooked as it will begin to show signs of flaking.

Poaching cod in milk

Follow the recipe card and your Cod Mornay will be ready to go into the oven.

Cod Mornay ready for the oven

Once baked for about 40 minutes the cheese will have melted and the panko crumbs will be nice and crunchy.

Cod Mornay just out of the oven

That's it, now dive in and enjoy! 

Cod Mornay

Serve with a good amount of nice peas.


how to make, cod, mornay,spinach,recipe
main,fish,dinner
English
Yield: 2-4
Author: Jan Bennett
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Cod Mornay

Cod Mornay

This recipe serves 2 greedy people like us, or 4 not so quite so greedy people!
Prep time: 40 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 1 H & 19 M

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil
  • 400g Cod loin 
  • 150g Ready washed baby spinach leaves (4 big handfuls)
  • 2 large Maris Piper potatoes – sliced very thinly using a Mandolin
  • 3 shallots - finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 250ml milk
  • 50g of butter
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Panko crumbs (a handful) 
  • 70g (a handful) Extra matured Cheddar - grated for sprinkling on the top
For the sauce
  • 75g butter
  • 75g plain flour
  • 170g Gruyere cheese - grated
  • 220ml of whole milk
  • Plus you will need all of the milk that you poached the fish in
  • 1 teaspoon English Mustard

Instructions

Preheat your oven 180C/360F Gas 4
  1. Add a little vegetable oil to a large frying pan and throw in the chopped shallots.
  2. Cook for 10-15 five minutes or until they're nice and soft; you don’t want them to colour just soften.
  3. Now add the spinach and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg - it will look like you have far too much spinach but trust me once it wilts, it'll be fine.
  4. Keep the spinach moving about in the pan and once it’s wilted (a minute or two) turn off the heat and leave to one side.
  5. In another (much smaller frying pan) heat up the 250ml of milk and then put the cod in along with a bay leaf and the peppercorns; you’ll know when the cod is cooked as it will begin to show signs of flaking.
  6. Don't overcook it because it's going into the oven remember.  Once that’s happened, remove the cod from the milk. Make sure you keep the milk for the sauce!
  7. Put the cod onto a plate and use a fork break it up. It will naturally fall into flakes quite easily. Don’t be mushing it up; keep those flakes of cod looking good!
  8. Now peel and very thinly slice (2mm) seriously they need to be thin, it's best to use a mandolin. 
  9. Lay the potatoes in a shallow dish with a little water and cover with cling film, make a couple of holes and pop it into the microwave for about 1 minute.
  10. Give them a stir and back into the microwave for another minute or so; the exact time, of course, will depend on the wattage of your microwave and how thinly you sliced those potatoes.
  11. You need them to be pretty much cooked because they won't have time to cook enough once they are in the oven. The cod is well and truly ruined otherwise; there’s nothing more horrid than underdone potatoes.
  12. *Time to make the sauce - see below*
  13. Butter a 10-inch gratin dish or similar.
  14. Do a layer of potatoes and season lightly with salt and pepper, then add the spinach followed by the rest of the potatoes.
  15. Now add the fish and top with the rest of the sauce.
  16. Sprinkle the top with the panko crumbs and add a handful of Cheddar cheese.
  17. Bake on the middle shelf at 180C/ 360F or Gas 4 for about 40 minutes, check that everything is piping hot and serve with some nice peas.
To make the sauce
  1. Get yourself a medium-sized saucepan and add the butter, once it’s melted add the flour.
  2. Cook for a minute, stirring with a wooden spoon - if you don't cook the flour your sauce will taste floury and will be lumpy.
  3. Add the milk you reserved earlier when you poached the cod, add it a little a time stirring all the while.
  4. Now add the mustard and the 220ml of milk, stirring continuously on the heat until the sauce bubbles and begins to thicken.
  5. Add a pinch of salt and turn down to a simmer and cook for around 5 minutes - you will need to keep stirring (a wooden spoon works best).
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat, find the 3 peppercorns and discard.
  7. Stir in the grated Gruyere cheese until you have a nice thick but smooth sauce. If you really need to you can add a tiny bit more milk.

Notes:

It really is worth buying cod loin because the last thing you want is to be picking out fish bones!
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5 comments

  1. A fine "all in one" meal, Jan. Have a delicious 2011!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks very tasty Jan! You can't beat a good piece of cod cooked perfectly! so yummy! xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  3. THis dish just screams comfrot food Ham. It looks so creamy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Delicious, even better than a fish pie i think because i like the sliced potatoes and spinach in it. yum.

    ReplyDelete

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Jan