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Cod bake

Spinach and cheese go well with fish, especially with the somewhat bland flavour of cod. Serve this fish casserole as a family supper dish with potato croquettes.

ingredients

serves 4
3/4 kg (1 1/2 lb) fresh spinach or 283 g (10 oz) packet frozen chopped spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp spoon grated nutmeg
50 g (2 oz) butter
4 cod steaks

for the cheese sauce:

25 g (1 oz) butter
25 g (1 oz) flour
400 ml (3/4 pint) hot milk
100 g (4 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated

method

1. Wash the fresh spinach and place in a large saucepan with salt to taste. Heat gently until juices flow from the spinach, then cover the pan with a lid and cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes or until the spinach is tender.

2. Drain well and chop finely or puree in an electric blender. If using frozen spinach, cook according to packet directions.

3. Season the cooked spinach with plenty of black pepper and the nutmeg and stir in half of the butter. Place in the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish.

4. Fry the cod steaks in the remaining butter for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, then place on top of the spinach in
the dish.

5. To prepare the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk gradually, stirring vigorously. When all the milk has been incorporated, return the pan to the heat.

7. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat, add 50 g (2 oz) of the grated cheese and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts in the sauce, stirring constantly.

8. Cover the fish with the cheese sauce and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake in a fairly hot oven (190°C/375°F or Gas Mark 5) for 20 to 30 minutes or until the fish is cooked and the top of the casserole is lightly browned and bubbling.

9. Test the fish with a fork: the flesh should flake easily. Serve immediately.

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