I got a Food Wish for a classic creamed cod recently (which, by the way, was one of my childhood favorites), but instead of doing the traditional version, I decided I'd try to make it a little bit fancier and refined and present basically all the same ingredients, but in an individual-sized, beautifully browned and bubbling, gratin form. Not to spoil the ending, but I was very happy with how this came out!

Recipe Summary

20 mins
55 mins
5 mins
1 hr 20 mins
2 servings


Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place potatoes in a large pot of well-salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently until tender, about 20 minutes.

  • While potatoes simmer, trim, bone, and cut the cod fillets across into 2-inch pieces.

  • Drain potatoes well and return to the pot. Add a pinch of cayenne, salt, and 4 tablespoons butter. Mash until smooth.

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease 2 individual-sized casserole or baking dishes with 1 tablespoon butter. Place both dishes on a baking sheet.

  • Transfer about 2/3 cup of the mashed potatoes into each of the prepared dishes. Smooth out evenly and make a shallow depression with a spoon down the middle. Set aside.

  • Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a deep 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots in the hot butter with a pinch of salt until they just start to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cream, lemon zest, and a pinch of cayenne, and bring to a simmer. Add cod and wait for the sauce to come back to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute, while basting with the sauce; turn and cook for 1 minute more.

  • Pour in lemon juice and turn off the heat; stir for about 30 seconds.

  • Divide the pieces of cod over the potato. Add enough sauce to just cover the fish and return the pan to the stove.

  • Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the sauce reduces and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in tarragon.

  • Spoon the thickened sauce over the cod. Add a light dusting of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

  • Bake in the center of the preheated oven until cod is cooked through and the sauce is browned and bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Chef's Notes:

Use cod fillets that are 6 to 8 ounces each.

You can add as much potato as you want to the casserole dishes but remember to leave room for the fish and sauce.

This recipe will make extra mashed potatoes; 1 large russet potato will be enough for 2 portions. Recipe can be tripled and baked in a 9x13-inch casserole dish.

Substitute dill for tarragon if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1090 calories; protein 38.5g; carbohydrates 43.6g; fat 86.3g; cholesterol 333.3mg; sodium 216.5mg. Full Nutrition


Rating: 5 stars
I really enjoyed this dish, and I'm not usually a "fish" person. I used a kaffir lime instead of the lemon because that's what I had, and it was fantastic. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fantastic recipe! I discovered tarragon and I'm in love. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I added extra cayenne pepper and some marjoram because I really like the flavor with fish. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Very good. For the sauce, I would cut back on the heavy cream and butter by 25% or so, and I was heavy-handed with the parmesan. ?? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I want to lick the pan clean. I seriously could drink this sauce in a mug. I could literally bathe in this sauce and be happy for the rest of my life. Just yummy. Omgoodness. Chef John’s recipes never disappoint. I made this exactly as written and it is restaurant quality. Make it. Just do it. You won’t be sorry. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Sooo good! Doubled the recipe with no issues. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Followed the recipe for the most part, just doubled it because we had to serve four. Added some panko bread crumbs before baking and it turned out great. Grew Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Very poor result. Rather caulk like taste and texture. Only thing interesting was tarragon and that just couldn't carry the load. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Added some fish seasoning and that's all was super delicious and will be making this again for sure. Thankyou chef John:) Read More