A master recipe which we use for almost any round fish, such as cod, pollock, ling, haddock or grey sea mullet. This perfect one-pot dish can be cooked ahead and reheated – just make sure there’s lots of cheese sauce, otherwise it’ll be dry and uninteresting instead of juicy and unctuous. Mussels, shrimps, periwinkles or prawns can be added to make for a more elaborate and expensive version. Buttered leeks, piperonata, sautéed mushrooms or tomato fondue are other options – simply put a tablespoon or two either on top of the fish or underneath it in the gratin dish.
Cod, hake or haddock with dill & pangratatto
1.1kg cod, hake, haddock or grey sea mullet fillets
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
approx 50g roux, (made by blending 25g softened butter with 25g plain flour in a small bowl)
¼ tsp Dijon mustard
150–175g grated Cheddar cheese or
75g grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped dill (optional)
For the pangrattato
50-75ml extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
50g soft, white breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
To make the pangrattato, combine all of the ingredients in a little bowl and set aside.
Skin the fish and cut it into 6 or 8 portions. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Place the bay leaves in a lightly buttered sauté pan and lay the pieces of fish on top. Cover with the milk and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the fish changes colour from translucent to opaque. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
Bring the milk back to the boil and whisk in the roux to thicken the sauce to a light coating consistency. Stir in the mustard and two-thirds of the grated cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the dill, if using.
Return the fish to the pan and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, followed by the pangrattato.
Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is heated through and the top is golden brown and crisp. Serve with a salad of organic leaves.
Extracted from One Pot Feeds All by Darina Allen (Kyle Books, approx €23). Photograph by Lizzie Mayson