poached cod with parsley sauce

Lindsey Bareham

I made this for supper in Cornwall last week with just landed cod from still angry seas. It’s a comforting, old-fashioned kind of dish, the grassy parsley giving a well flavoured white sauce a bright freshness. Good with boiled potatoes and nothing else.

serves 2; prep: 15 mins plus 30 min rest; cook: 15 mins

1 small onion
3 peppercorns
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
300ml milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 lemon
Handful of parsley leaves
2 thick cod fillets

Halve the peeled onion. Chop one half and slice the other. Place chopped onion in a small pan with the pepper, thyme, bay and milk. Add a pinch of salt. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and leave off the heat for 30 minutes. Drain.

Melt the butter in a clean pan, stir in the flour until disappeared then stir in the milk and keep stirring while it simmers and thickens. Cook for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and lemon juice.

Boil the kettle. Pour boiling water over the parsley. Leave for 1 minute. Drain, chop and stir into the sauce. Place the sliced onion and 1 slice lemon in a pan with sufficient water to submerge the fish. Simmer, without the fish, for 5 minutes.

Slip in the fish and simmer for 5-8 minutes until just cooked. Scoop onto warmed plates, mop any water spillage, add hot sauce and serve with boiled potatoes.