Many years ago, New England's coastal regions stuffed fish for their Thanksgiving dinner rather than a turkey and, most often, that fish was cod or haddock. Cod is a saltwater fish with white, lean and firm flesh. Haddock is a saltwater fish that is related to cod but is smaller in size. In this recipe, stuffing a whole fish results in a flaky, mild fish with just a touch of smokiness from the bacon strips laid over the whole fish during baking.
To be truly traditional, you would serve this cod recipe with boiled or roasted potatoes and peas, but you could go anywhere with this. If you use a large cod for this recipe, you can serve 4-6, a haddock will probably serve only 2. Here are some excellent stuffing recipes:
- 1 whole codfish (or haddock)
- 1 batch stuffing (see above)
- Kosher salt
- 8 to 10 strips bacon
- Garnish: Lemons to serve
- Make sure the cod or haddock is well scaled and washed. You can leave the head on or off -- your choice. Snip off the fins with shears or scissors.Pat the exterior and interior dry with paper toweling. Salt it lightly and place it on a greased baking sheet.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Stuff the cavity of the fish with your favorite stuffing. I like oyster stuffing for this recipe. Put the excess stuffing (there is usually lots left over) in a casserole dish to cook alongside the fish.
- Close the cavity of the cod with the skewers by threading them in and out of the belly. You could sew it shut, too, but this is a lot of work.
- Lay strips of bacon over the fish on the diagonal. If you remove the head, make sure bacon strips cover the cut end well or it will dry out.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the cod, usually between 40-50 minutes. Once the bacon is crisp, remove it and serve it with the potatoes. At any rate, remove the bacon at least 10 minutes before the end of cooking to crisp up the fish skin.
- To serve, carefully remove the cod from the baking sheet -- you may need to use two large spatulas -- to a serving platter. Remove the skewers and let the stuffing spill out on the platter. Arrange the lemons and the boiled or roasted potatoes around and serve at once.
- I like a buttery Chardonnay with this dish, but really any full-bodied white wine would do well.