Cod Baked with Cream and Bay-leaves, with Duchesse Potato Recipe
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Cod Baked with Cream and Bay-leaves, with Duchesse Potato

6 portions of cod (6 ozs approx. filleted fish per person)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon finely-chopped onion
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 oz butter
3-4 fresh bay-leaves
1¼ cups Light cream to cover the fish

2 oz. butter or 1-2 tablespoon Hollandaise Sauce (optional)

This master recipe can be used for most round fish, e.g. haddock, pollock, grey sea mullet, ling, hake etc. Salmon and sea trout are delicious in this way or with a mixture of fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, fennel, lemon balm and chives.

Melt the butter in a pan. Fry the onion gently for a few minutes until soft but not colored. Put the cod in the pan and cook on both sides for 1 minute. Season with salt and freshly- ground pepper. Add bay-leaves. Cover with cream or creamy milk and simmer with the lid on for 5-10 minutes, until the fish is cooked. Remove the fish to a serving dish. Bring the cooking liquid to the boil and lightly thicken with roux. Whisk in the remaining butter or Hollandaise as an enrichment, check the seasoning. Coat the fish with sauce and serve immediately.

This dish can be prepared ahead and reheated and it also freezes well. Reheat in a moderate oven 350ºF, for anything from 10-30 minutes, depending on the size of the container.

For a delicious starter, put the Cod with Cream and Bay-leaves into scallop shells which have been piped around the edge with a little ruff of Duchesse Potato. For a dinner party the Duchesse Potato can be piped around a large serving dish with the cod in the centre. Garnish with bay-leaves before serving.

Serves 6

Duchesse Potato
- By Darina Allen

2 lbs unpeeled potatoes, preferably Golden Wonders or Kerrs Pinks
10 fl oz or 1¼ cups creamy milk
1-2 egg yolks or 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
2 ozs butter

Scrub the potatoes well. Put them into a saucepan of cold water, add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. When the potatoes are about half cooked, 15 minutes approx. for ‘old potatoes’, strain off two-thirds of the water, replace the lid on the saucepan, put onto a gentle heat and allow the potatoes to steam until they are cooked. Peel immediately by just pulling off the skins, so you have as little waste as possible; mash while hot. (If you have a large quantity, put the potatoes into the bowl of a food mixer and beat with the spade.)

While the potatoes are being peeled, bring the milk to the boil. Beat the eggs into the hot mashed potatoes, and add enough boiling creamy milk to mix to a soft light consistency suitable for piping; then beat in the butter, the amount depending on how rich you like your potatoes.

Taste and season with salt and freshly-ground pepper.

If the potatoes are not peeled and mashed while hot and if the boiling milk is not added immediately, the Duchesse Potato will be lumpy and gluey.

If you only have egg whites they will be fine and will make a delicious light mashed potato also.

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