Cod, cabbage & smoked rye

Cod, cabbage & smoked rye

The New Nordic
Simon Bajada

Cod is a funny one. It is highly prized around the world, but someone snacking on a delicate coral trout or garfish may wonder what all the fuss is about. Cooked badly, it can be rubbery and bland. Personally, the jury is still out, but I have to say it is hard to beat perfectly cooked skrei, the highest grade of cod, when it is first available in January having been rushed down from the Barents Sea to Norway.

Still, whatever you think of it, this popular fish has had a long and eventful history, from the start of its international trade during the Viking era, right up to the recent cod wars between Iceland and England. Many countries, including Portugal and Italy, drool over the air-dried and salted cod fillet – a form that I also adore. This recipe draws influence from that famous salty dried cod preparation, known as bacalao and brandade, but adapted here for a fresh fillet.

The recipe also gives instructions for smoking the bread. If you don’t have a smoker, you can re-create a similar flavour using hickory smoke powder.


Quantity Ingredient
200g red cabbage, finely shredded
200ml Heavy pickling solution
800g potatoes, peeled
500ml full-cream milk
1 bay leaf
pinch white pepper
4 mediterranean anchovies in oil, finely chopped
2 teaspoons oil
600g cod fillets
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/4 lemon, juiced

Smoked rye

Quantity Ingredient
200g Authentic Danish rye bread
200g A simpler Danish rye bread
1 teaspoon hickory smoke powder


  1. If you are going to smoke the bread, do that first. Cut the rye bread into very thin slices and place in a smoker for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pickle the cabbage in the pickling solution, and boil the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water for 12–15 minutes, until soft. Drain well.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, combine the milk, bay leaf, white pepper, anchovies and anchovy oil in a large saucepan. Heat gently for 4–5 minutes, until the milk is steaming but not simmering. Add the cod in a single layer; the fish should be fully submerged in the milk. If you have a kitchen thermometer, the temperature should be around 60°C, but no hotter. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn over the fillets. Cook for a further 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish; it should break apart when prodded with a fork. Remove from the heat. Gently lift the cod from the milk and set aside on a plate. Pour half the milk into a jug, leaving the rest in the pan, discarding the bay leaf.
  4. If you don’t have a smoker, preheat the oven to 180°C, sprinkle hickory smoke powder on to thinly sliced buttered rye bread and cook for about 5 minutes, until the bread has dried out, and is golden at the edges and crisp.
  5. Add the drained potatoes to the milk mixture in the pan and mash together with the butter. It should have the consistency of dense mash; if it’s too thick add some more of the warm milk from the jug. Flake in the cod and stir through. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice.
  6. Spoon the mash into serving bowls, top with pickled cabbage and torn slices of rye.
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again