Potluck dish inspires haddock casserole

Posted Sept. 07, 2010, at 6:38 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:52 p.m.

Finally it is cool enough to think of doing a little more in the kitchen than collapsing in a chair with a glass of iced tea and panting in the heat. Finally it is cool enough that a haddock casserole sounds good. Many thanks go to Pat Southard of Howland and Ruth Thurston in Machias who came through with a variety of possible recipes that inspired the one that follows.

A potluck supper dish of haddock casserole tasted so good to me in Winthrop last spring that it set me off on the quest for a recipe. Usually when I cook with fish I prepare it very simply by baking, broiling or pan frying it. If I have a whole fish, I am likely to cook it on a grill. Salmon gets the poaching treatment from time to time, and any leftovers end up as salmon-and-peas-on-toast. Once in a while, there is leftover whitefish — cod, haddock, pollock and the like — and I will create fishcakes for breakfast. For no good reason that I can think of, I seldom make anything more elaborate than a chowder.

The recipe I offer here is really a hybrid of Pat’s with the noodles, and Ruth’s Fish Scallop with cream sauce, a bit of Cheddar and crumbs on top. You will find this really easy to assemble and you can make it even simpler by following Pat’s advice and availing yourself of the convenience of canned cream of shrimp soup. I decided to make a cream sauce from scratch for my version following Ruth’s recipe. Pat’s recipe called for uncooked fish, and Ruth’s called for cooked, and I decided to begin with uncooked. I bought about a pound of fish and discovered in assembling this that actually it could take a little less or a little more, depending on what you have at hand.

Depending on what you have at hand is really what this recipe is all about. That, and pleasing yourself and the family. I chose to keep the noodles down to a dull roar but you might like more. Perhaps more Cheddar is to your taste. Nobody said you couldn’t put peas in this or corn or any other vegetable you like. Your cream sauce could have actual cream or sour cream in it. Pat’s recipe called for mayonnaise, which would make a nice addition to the sauce. Be sure to suit yourself.

Haddock Casserole

Yields three to four servings

¼ cup butter

1 small onion, minced

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

4 ounces egg noodles, boiled

1 pound haddock cut into bite sized pieces

¼ cup cheddar cheese grated

½ cup soft bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter in a heavy pan, and add the onions; cook until they are just tender, then stir in the flour and cook until the flour is bubbly. Add the milk or cream and stir all together until the sauce is smooth and thick. Take off the heat. Grease a casserole dish, and make a layer of fish, then sauce, and a layer of noodles, and repeat. Top with cheddar cheese and crumbs. Bake all together until you can see bubbling and the fish is cooked, about a half-hour.

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