Cod with Parsley and Bacon Recipe
When I was younger, one of my most favourite things to eat was cod in parsley sauce. This sounds like a sophisticated nursery style supper, until I mention it was a boil in the bag fish in parsley sauce. Right up there with my mild addiction to Salad Cream, I’m not proud of loving convenience foods from the 70’s but I can’t help myself. Boil in the bag fish with peas is the food of champions, and, in a genetic twist of fate, George too loves BITB fish, but minus the peas, of course. Today’s Cod with Parsley and Bacon, therefore, is an homage to mine and George’s favourite dish.
Thanks to the rather dapper Valentine Warner, this Cod with Parsley and Bacon is a simple, but incredibly delicious business. I chose Cod, but you can use any firm white fish for this, something that can withstand a good pan frying. The sauce is a classic roux, with a touch of cheese and a generous handful of vintage style curly parsley. The crisp bacon is served on the side, but the fat rendered in the pan is used to cook and flavour your cooked-to-perfection fish. It’s quick, simple but also incredibly delicious. I’ve traded up from peas to samphire with my dish, but you choose your greens and some buttered new potatoes too, if you like. Which, as I am being super honest with you today, are amazing slathered in Salad Cream *don’t judge me*.
This is a supper for two, but double up for a dinner party or for any other lovers of totally scrumptious, slightly retro meals involving curly parsley.
As always, just simple ingredients for delicious food. No kerfuffle or fads here, I am far too old school for that. And bacon makes everything delicious as far as I’m concerned, unless you’re vegetarian of course. If you are pescatarian just leave the bacon out and cook the fish in some extra butter instead.
Make a start with the star of the show parsley sauce. Take a medium pan and melt your butter over a low heat. Stir through the 15g of flour and the mustard until you have a smooth-ish roux or paste.
Gradually whisk in the milk, a little at a time to stop any rogue lumps, until you have added all the milk and the sauce is smooth.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese. I had some delicious aged Red Leicester, but just use any strong cheese you have to hand. Check for seasoning then pop to one side for the moment.
Now, take a large frying pan and heat over a high flame. Add the four rashers of bacon and cook until crisp.
Remove from the pan and then put it back on the hob with the bacon fat still in it.
Add the tablespoon of flour to a plate, season well then lightly coat the skin side of your chosen fish fillets.
Place the fish in the hot pan, skin side down and cook for around 4 to 5 minutes, dependent on the thickness of your fillets.
While this is cooking, pop the sauce back on the stove on low and stir through the parsley. Add a splash more milk if it has thickened up. Remove when hot.
Flip the fish and cook for a further minute on the other side then serve, skin side up.
Pour over the parsley sauce and garnish with the bacon rashers. I sautéed some samphire in butter for 3 minutes in a pan and this was just perfect with the fish. Pile on some buttered new potatoes too, for some added summer carbs.
This childhood favourite is still as bloody delicious as it was in the dark ages when I was young. The fact it doesn’t come out of a bag brings it right up to date, and frankly, makes it much more appealing, even if it is slightly less convenient.
Cod with Parsley and Bacon Recipe
You will only need pans for this recipe
1 teaspoon English mustard
15g plain flour
200ml milk, you may need a splash more
20g strong cheese, I had an aged Red Leicester, but you choose
20g curly parsley, chopped
4 rashers streaky bacon
1 heaped tablespoon flour
salt and pepper
2 x 200g skin on Cod fillets, or use Pollock, or a white fish of your choice
Samphire or another green and some sort of buttery new potatoes, to serve
Melt the 20g butter over a low heat in a small saucepan then stir in the flour and mustard. Cook for around a minute then gradually whisk in the milk. Keep whisking to avoid lumps. Once all the milk has been added, cook for a minute or two to thicken then remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese. Pop to one side for the moment.
Fry your 4 rashers of bacon in a medium hot frying pan until golden then pop onto a plate. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan.
Add the heaped tablespoon of flour to a plate, season with salt and pepper then coat the skin side of your chosen fish. Add the fish, skin side down, to the bacon fat in the pan over a medium heat and cook for around 4 to 5 minutes.
Turn the fish over and cook for another minute. Re heat the sauce on the stove, adding the chopped parsley and any further salt and pepper, to taste. If the sauce has thickened up, add a splash more milk to thin it down.
To serve, place the fish, skin side up, on a plate. Spoon over the sauce then add the crisp bacon rashers on top. Serve with some sort of greens and some new potatoes, if you like.