Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Cod with Dill and Parsley Sauce
This is an updated classic recipe for Cod with Dill and Parsley sauce – lighter than the traditional bechamel sauce with parsley that my mother would have served and delicious on a cold winter’s day. This recipe was one I developed when I was working with a rather special type of cod called Skrei. If you haven’t heard of it before, that’s probably because it is both seasonal and regional. A type of Norwegian cod which is only in season from January to April each year, it’s a migrating fish. The word Skrei means ‘to migrate’ and at the start of the year, the large, mature cod that has been overwintering in the Barents Sea starts to make a journey back to their spawning grounds, off the islands of Lofoten and Vesterålen. It’s a journey of around 600 miles, for centuries, the fish has been treasured for its lean flesh with fine flavour and large flakes of meat. The Norwegian Seafood Council sent me a whole one a few years ago and I had great fun creating some delicious fish recipes.
While my focus this year has been on British fish, I couldn’t resist a portion of Skrei when I found it being sold by the fishmonger who visits our farmer’s market. You could make this recipe with normal cod though or with any firm white fish like Hake, Haddock or Pollock. The real difference between this version and the one my mother used to make is that the sauce she used was based on a roux of flour, butter and milk. Using just cream and butter makes a more delicate finish for the dish, albeit one that is prone to splitting if you are not careful. The best trick I know to avoid splitting is to take out a spoonful or two of the wine stock when it has reduced down and let it cool a bit. Stir that into the cream before you add the whole lot to the pan. Or, if you want an easier solution, make a slurry with a teaspoon of cornflour and a little of the wine. Use that to thicken the sauce before you add the cream.
I’ve also added dill because I like the aniseed notes it adds to the dish. But you could stick to just parsley if you prefer.
Cod with Dill Sauce and Parsley - an easy classic fish dish
- 2 pieces Skrei or other White Fish Cod, Hake or Haddock will work with this recipe
- 30 g Butter
- 200 ml White Wine
- 150 ml Double Cream
- 1 Bunch Parsley Flat leafed is milder and sweeter, curly is more traditional. Remove stalks and chop finely
- 1 Sprig Dill Finely chopped
- 2 Shallots Finely chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pat the fish dry between kitchen paper
Melt half the butter in a small heavy bottom pan
Soften the shallots in the butter for 5 minutes
Add the white wine and mustard then boil rapidly for around 10 minutes to reduce by a half
Strain the liquid and wipe the pan out.
Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan till sizzling.
Put the fish skin side down in the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes
Return the reduced wine to the pan, stir through the cream and chopped herbs and heat very gently til warm
Turn the fish and cook for a further 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the pieces.
Serve with the sauce on the side accompanied by green vegetables and mashed potatoes