"Leftover fish" just the sight of these words may be producing a nearly irresistible urge to click along to something else in you! And I admit, leftover fish usually finds its best and highest purpose at my house in the dog's dish. However, I can't think of anything more Prudent Foodie than coming up with a good tasting way to use good quality fish leftovers. We'll leave the re-use of fish sticks to those wonderful folks who recycle plastic bottles.
Last weekend our good friends Dave and Gloria came to dinner and we enjoyed a couple wonderful bottles of wine, a fabulous salad and pumpkin bisque provided by Gloria, along with Nigella's Guiness Cake, and cod en papillotte with turnips and leeks that I rustled up. I'm not providing a recipe for this, because it's really too fiddly for the Prudent Foodie most nights, but here's a link that shows you the technique should you wish to try this at home. In any event, at the end of a lovely evening we had a whole package of cod en papillotte left over, and I couldn't quite bring myself to give it to the dog. Plus, I wasn't sure if the leeks qualified as onions, and might make it toxic to her. So, I felt a moral obligation to come up with something edible to do with it.
In english and northern european cooking there is a long tradition of fish pies and puddings; dishes that we rarely get here. I recall as a child being fed a savory pudding made from leftover lutefisk the day after Christmas at the home of my relatives in Skåne. I know that you, dear reader, are smirking at the thought of a thousand Garrison Keillor jokes, but this in fact tasted just fine, probably because it was cooked with a very rich cream sauce strongly flavored with dry mustard. So, a fish pudding seemed like the way to go, and certainly, my lovely fresh cod gently poached in white wine, with carrots, leeks and fire roasted tomatoes would be a better jumping off point than leftover lutefisk. But then, possibly even fish sticks would.
Cod and Root Vegetable Gratin
4-8 oz. poached or baked cod. If you have some pan sauces, etc. reserve and use in sauce
3 good sized Yukon Gold or white potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2-4 fresh turnips, peeled and sliced thin (you want nearly as many turnips as potatoes)
1 onion peeled and finely diced (leeks will do as well)
2 cloves garlic minced or run through a pressoptional:
1 carrot, finely diced
2 oz. chevre (soft fresh goat cheese)
1 pint heavy cream or half and half
thyme, salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F. Oil or butter a casserole dish. Put a layer of root vegetables in the bottom of the dish, then put some of the fish in, sprinkle half the onions and garlic over it and crumble half the chevre on it. The make another layer of vegetables, fish, onions and chevre. Add the salt, pepper and thyme. Pour the cream over the whole thing and put in the over for about 20-30 minutes, until bubbling. If you like sprinkle some bread crumbs and parmesan cheese on the top, turn the oven down to 325, and let them topping brown for 5 minutes. Serve with a nice green salad (and leftover Guinness Chocolate Cake), and pat yourself on the back for being so thrifty! DeeDee