Tasty Poached Cod Recipe

By Todd Goodyear

According to Webster’s dictionary, “poach” means “to take fish or game illegally, especially by trespassing on another’s property.” I’m not quite sure what the trespassing part means exactly. Are they suggesting that one would enter a neighbour’s or friend’s house, or maybe shed, and help themselves to some cod or moose meat? I’d call that borrowing a feed with all good intentions to repay it with the same amount or more! This sort of thing happens, without a doubt, around the bay. And in my neighbourhood here in Paradise, it’s a common thing to have a neighbour drop by my shed (cookhouse) with some fresh cod, trout or a feed of moose. It’s one of the many reasons why we love living here.
The other dictionary meaning of “poach,” more in line with this column, is “to cook in boiling or simmering liquid.” So when I say “poached,” I am referring to the latter. Now should you choose to poach the fish that you’re going to poach, please keep those details to yourself, okay?
I am trusting that if you took part in the food fishery somewhere in the country this past season that it was done safely and that success was found each time you were on the water. Ever since that dreadful day when the Atlantic cod moratorium was announced in 1992 – yes, 30 years ago now – a meal of cod tastes better every time. Fresh cod has to be one of the top favourite meals in our house. Maybe we appreciate it more now, too, although I can’t remember a time when there was absolutely no cod to get. I certainly hope it stays that way.
Many Canadians, especially Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, continue to enjoy catching their own cod, be it enough for a meal or as many as they are legally allowed for winter keeping. Living off the land and water is no doubt still very relevant in our province, as well as other areas of the country.
I have to say, pan seared remains my number one favourite way to prepare the almighty Atlantic cod fish. However, poached is a method I recently experimented with and truly enjoyed – so much so that I wanted to share this recipe.

What you will need for 4 servings:
1 small turnip, peeled and cut into strips
12 baby carrots
1/2 cup     butter
4 (6 oz) thick cod fillets, skinned, as fresh as possible
1/2 cup coarse kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into slices or wedges
4-6 medium potatoes, boiled (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Place carrots and turnip in a medium pot. Cover vegetables with cold water, add half the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer vegetables until fork tender.
In another pot, add cod fillets and enough cold water to cover the fish by at least a couple of inches. Add remaining salt and bring the fish to a boil. Once it starts to boil, immediately remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand for 10-12 minutes.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter for drizzling over the fish and vegetables.
Once the fish has rested and the veggies are cooked, remove the fish with a slotted spoon and place on some paper towel before plating. This will soak up extra water in the fish, so the plate doesn’t get too wet and dilute the melted butter.
Place the fish, carrot and turnip (and potatoes if desired) on the plate. Drizzle all with the melted butter and season with salt & pepper. Squeeze some lemon juice over the top of the fish and add another slice for garnish.

This meal is delicious! It’s light, tasty and a great alternative to other traditional methods of preparing cod. It is also very easy and quick to make.
In this recipe I used turnip and carrot. Feel free to make some boiled or baked potato, or serve it with a salad of your choice. All will go well with poached cod.

Todd’s Tips:
• Use the freshest cod possible for this meal. It will be worth it.
• Salt amount used is strictly personal desired taste; adjust for your liking.
• Boiled potatoes mashed with butter and milk would also make a great side.
• Always, always, cook with confidence.

Picture of Downhome Magazine
Downhome Magazine

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