Fresh Cod with Mustard Sauce

(recipe, Mark Kurlansky)

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This Danish dish (adapted from the recipe provided by Ann Bierlich in Mark Kurlansky's book Cod) should be eaten with boiled fingerling potatoes, chopped hardboiled eggs, chopped boiled red beets, and fresh horseradish. Wash it all down with ice-cold beer and schnapps.


  1. 2 lb. fresh, firm-fleshed fish (halibut, salmon, etc.)
  2. Coarse salt
  3. 2 Tbsp. butter
  4. ¼ cup flour
  5. 4 cups milk
  6. 2 Tbsp. mustard
  7. 1 Tbsp. vinegar


  1. Take the biggest pot you have. Put in enough cold water to cover the fish. Use a lot of salt, a good handful of coarse salt, so salty that you think it is the North Sea. Put the pieces of fish into the cold water, put the stove on low heat, and warm the water so it doesn’t boil, but quivers. Let the pieces of fish stay in the water for a few minutes while it is still quivering. Don’t cook it to death! The fish must be firm and white. Remove the poached fish with a skimmer.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour. Add the milk and cook until the sauce is thick, then whisk in the mustard and vinegar. Serve the sauce, still warm, over the fish.