The specialty of a Newfoundland house

Posted July 23, 2010, at 10:03 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:20 p.m.

When our 22-year-old Liz was 18, she enjoyed a rare summer experience. She became a member of the well-known Quebec-Labrador Mission.

Her summer assignment took her to Croque, Newfoundland, where she spent her most memorable summer.

She billeted and ate with the families of Newfoundlanders, an experience that left her with many pleasant and lasting memories.

I can tell you at home, Liz was never one to dine on such delicacies as venison heart, beaver tail soup or even a cut from a perfectly delightful moose roast. Liz was never one for exotic wild game dishes.

The very first meal offered her at Croque, was a favorite Canadian dish, fried cod tongues. That happens to be a favored dish in the Canadian Maritimes and Liz was big to learn, big with Newfoundland folk.

“I actually grew to like cod tongue and I even looked forward to cod tongue later that summer. The people in Croque served cod tongue different ways. I had them scalloped and deep-fried. One family I got to know, fried cod tongue,” she said.

Here is the way Liz recently prepared fried cod tongue while I was visiting her at Barbara and Gerry Bruno’s lovely old farm at North New Portland:

¼ pound lean salt pork with rind removed, the pork cut into ¼-inch cubes

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup flour

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1½ pounds fresh cod tongues

“I learned from Newfoundland people that you should wash the tongues in a sieve or colander, under cold running water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

“You then sprinkle the tongues with the lemon juice or a suitable blend of lemon and lay them side by side on a piece of wax paper. Now combine the grindings of black pepper, salt and flour in a paper bag and put aside. Newfoundland families all own heavy, cast iron fry pans. Fry the salt pork over moderate heat, turning frequently until they are crisp and brown and have rendered all fat.

“Drop the cod tongues into the flour mixture and shake the bag, making certain they’re coated on all sides. One at a time, arrange the tongues in one layer in the skillet and fat.

“The mistake most Americans make, I’ve discovered, is the tendency to overcook the cod tongue. They should be fried uncovered over moderately low heat on each side for about 12 minutes, or until brown and crisp. To serve, drain the tongues briefly on paper towels and in Croque, they’re usually served with boiled potatoes and turnips.”

Having recently suppered on Liz’s cod tongues, you can rest assured they’re delicious and offer ideal fare as a meal at home or off in the bush and the Back 40 on a hunting trip. You ought to be warned, however, that when they’re cooked exactly right and there are no seconds on the platter, be prepared to defend yourself.

A worthy dish for the family or the gang in the camp, Newfoundland Fried Cod Tongues.

You’ll like ’em, try ’em.

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