Kenny Tutt’s Cod Mornay with Buttered Leeks
Believe it or not I still have fond memories of the perfect rectangle of cod served in a plastic bag with a creamy sauce popular throughout the 80s and 90s. It’s one of those nostalgic things I guess, however this recipe really isn’t that. Perfect, meaty cod fillet with a decadent cheese sauce and buttery leeks is a real match and is so simple to do well by cooking the fish to temperature and taking out some of the guesswork. In this recipe I have used fresh cod fillet which can be brought from most supermarkets or even better, your local fishmonger.
Prep: 5-10 mins
Cook: This is about gentle cooking to set the proteins in the fish. See temperatures in method
2 cod loin fillets, skin off or on
Splash of oil
Fine salt to season fish
2 tbsp plain flour
Splash of white wine
100g grated strong mature cheddar
Baby or young leeks, sliced
1. Like any protein, let the fish sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes to help with the cooking process.
2. Preheat your grill to a high setting.
3. While the fish is coming to room temperature, prepare your mornay sauce by making a basic white roux. Add the butter to a pan over a medium heat and when it starts to foam stir in the flour and cook out for a few minutes. Slowly add the milk and stir as you go. Add a dash of white wine and then finely stir in the cheese. Give it a good whisk and after a few minutes you should be left with a silky sauce fit for that beautiful cod. Season to taste and set aside.
4. Now to cook the cod. Lightly coat the base of a non-stick frying pan with a touch of oil then place the pan over a medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, season the cod with fine salt and place it in the pan skin-side down (if the skin has been left on).
5. Cook for approximately 2–3 minutes until the skin is nicely golden and crisp. If you are cooking skinless cod, cook until the fish has a nice golden hue.
6. Carefully turn the cod over and cook for a further 2–3 minutes, place the leeks and a touch of butter in the same pan and squeeze some fresh lemon over the cod. Using your Thermapen probe the thickest part of the cod fillet being sure to go halfway into the loin. Once the fillets have reached 48-52°C remove and place on a baking tray.
7. Spoon over a generous amount of the cheese sauce and place under a hot grill for one minute until golden and bubbling on top. Serve straight away with the buttered leeks and some creamy mash or new potatoes. Simple greatness.
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