Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jean Marc's favourite Fish Gratin

Jean Marc can remember his Grandma Marie Jeanne making this dish on the open fire. The layers of fish and potato would take all morning to cook in the cast iron pot in the hot embers and the potatoes would form a delicious crispy crust. 

Preparation time 30 minutes 
Cooking time 1 hour 
Oven temp 190 C 

Ingredients for 4 people

500 g fleshy white fish filets 
1 kg potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly (1mm) using slicer of food processor 
2 sprigs of fresh thyme 
1 bay leaf 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
2 cloves of garlic 
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley 
1. Add the sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf to a pan of water and heat until boiling. Turn down the heat and poach the cod in the simmering water until the layers of fish can be easily separated. (About 5 minutes)
2. Drain the fish and discard the thyme and bay leaf. 
3. In an ovenproof dish start with a layer of the finely sliced potatoes 
4. Season generously with salt 
5. Flake half the fish on top of the potatoes 
6. Sprinkle half of the garlic and fresh parsley on the fish. 
7. Drizzle with olive oil 
8. Repeat the above layers and finish with a final layer of potatoes. 
9. Drizzle the top layer of potatoes with olive oil and season with salt 
10. Add enough water to come about a third of the way up the gratin 
11. Cook in the oven for an hour.  After 30 minutes turn down the heat to 170 C checking regularly to make sure that the potatoes do not burn. If they do burn cover with foil and add more oil.

Annie’s Alternatives 
Traditionally salted cod was used because it was cheaper and in ready supply from the fish monger’s lorry. The cod should be soaked in cold water overnight with the water changed 2 or 3 times depending on how salty it is. The dish will probably not need any additional salt.