Showing posts with label gratin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gratin. Show all posts

Friday, September 1, 2017

Gratin of Cod Irish Style

We got to our market very early this past week, and most of the fish hadn't been put into the case. But they had some very nice local, never-frozen cod, and this is Massachusetts, where the gilded Sacred Cod hangs in the House of Representatives chamber the State House in Boston, so that's what we went with.

So what's Irish about this? I have, at last inventory, at least eight handsomely illustrated Irish cookbooks. One of them is Darina Allen's A Year at Ballymaloe Cookery School, published in 1997. In case you've never heard of Darina Allen, she has been called "the Julia Child of Ireland," and she's the owner and head chef of the above-named cooking school, which just happens to be in County Cork. I'm saving my pennies to take a class there. But as it happens, she was at the Skibbereen Farmers Market a few weeks ago, so of course I introduced myself. I managed not to gush. (Sorry, no photos--I didn't wish to appear too much of a groupie.)

The fact that she was there, at a market nearly two hours from her home base, on a summer Saturday, is a tribute to the market. (I believe she was buying cheese.)

I found this recipe in her book. Of course I tweaked a few things, but luckily I had the ingredients on hand, including Kerrygold Irish cheese, and this is delightfully quick and simple to make and lets the fish speak for itself. (BTW, My husband approved with the first bite.)

As ever, I cut this recipe in half for the two of us, although I kept the original amount of sauce because, well, I like sauce. I also added the tarragon to the recipe, because I thought the tart taste would go well with the Dijon mustard, and I happened to have a bunch of fresh tarragon on hand.

And if anyone can explain to me how you divide a large fish fillet into similar-sized pieces that will cook evenly, I will be eternally grateful. At least in this recipe the sauce kind of insulates the fish pieces, so none were overcooked.

Gratin of Cod

Ingredients: (Note: original amounts given)

6 pieces of cod fillet (total 36 oz, 

   cut into 6 pieces)
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups grated aged Irish Cheddar cheese
1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
4 Tblsp heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking dish large enough to hold all the fish pieces in one layer.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Arrange the pieces in the dish in a single layer.

Grate the cheese. Mix it with the mustard and cream and tarragon and spread over the fish on both sides. (It can be prepared to this point and refrigerated.)

Ingredients, mixed

Ready for the oven
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. The top should be golden and bubbly.

Thank you, Darina--it was delicious. We'll be making it again. (And hope to see you again soon!)

Right now I'm between books: Cruel Winter (County Cork #5) was published last March (the sixth book in the series, Many a Twist, will appear in January 2018), and A Late Frost (Orchard Mystery #11) will come out in November. Which does not mean I am slacking off! I'll be launching the new Victorian Village series in June 2018, and I'm already writing the second in that series (no cover yet). I'll try to keep you up to date!

Friday, October 23, 2015


by Sheila Connolly

Just when you thought there was nothing new to do with potatoes…I discovered this in the New York Times. It’s kind of labor-intensive, and it takes a long while to cook, so plan ahead. But it tastes great!


3 oz. finely grated Gruyere cheese

2 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tblsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 pounds of russet potatoes (the floury kind, like baking potatoes, not the waxy kind. Try to find evenly shaped ones, not irregular lumpy ones.)
2 Tblsp soft butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (you might want to put a cookie sheet on a lower shelf, in case this dish bubbles over). Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with the butter.

Combine the grated cheeses in a bowl, then put 1/3 of the mixture in another bowl and set aside.

Peel and slice the potatoes, about 1/8” thick. I used my food processor with the thicker slicing blade, but of course you can do it by hand if you want. Or use a mandoline (a manual kind of slicer)—but those scare me because I’m always sure I’m going to slice my finger.

To the first bowl, add the cream, garlic and thyme to the cheeses, then the salt and pepper. Mix, then add the potato slices.

Now comes the fun part. Gently toss the slices in the cheese/cream until every slice is well coated. Make sure none of them stick together. You really have to use your hands for this, because a spoon might break the slices, and whole slices are important for the next part.

Putting it together:

Pick up a bunch of potatoes and arrange them in a neat stack. Stick them vertically in the casserole dish, so the edges stick up. Go around the dish, starting with the outside ring, packing the slices tightly (If you run out, you may have to peel another potato, slice it, and cover it with cream, then fill in the casserole.)

Pour whatever cheese/cream liquid is left all over the potatoes in the casserole, until it comes about halfway up the sides (you may not need all of it).


This takes three steps.

--Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

--Remove the foil from the dish. Return to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes, until the top starts browning.

Almost there!

--Take it out of the oven (carefully! It’s hot!) and sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake for another thirty minutes (yes, you’re now up to 90 minutes cooking time), until the top is deep golden brown and crisp.

And done!
Remove from the oven and let it rest a few minutes before serving. 

A Gala Event is almost two weeks old, and still in the Barnes & Noble top 20!

You can find it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble