I was trying to think of a brief introductory paragraph for this week, but then I realized all I need to do is show you the picture that forced me to make this dish.
Actually, it’s not just the picture — it’s the recipe. Particularly that last ingredient.
Birds Eye Cod on a Spinach Isle
2 packages Birds Eye Cod Fillets
1/4 cup butter or other fat
1 box Birds Eye Spinach
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 cup rich milk
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
Cut ocean-fresh Birds Eye Cod Fillets in serving pieces. Roll in seasoned flour. Fry in fat in skillet about 15 minutes, turning to brown both sides.
Meanwhile, cook and season Birds Eye Spinach as directed on package. Arrange fish and spinach on hot platter.
Add flour, salt, and pepper to fat remaining in skillet and blend. Add milk gradually and cook over medium heat until mixture is thickened, stirring constantly. Add mustard and blend; then add eggs. Pour sauce over spinach and fish. Makes 4 servings.
What is with these hard-boiled eggs recently?
We couldn’t find frozen cod fillets, or rather couldn’t find any that weren’t coated with something. So we’re using fresh cod here. Luckily Birds Eye still makes spinach, though, so our Isle will be authentic.
“Seasoned flour” is not well defined, so we added small amounts of paprika and pepper and dry mustard.
I’ve never actually fried fish before. This is an inexplicable oversight, because fried is one of the few ways I am actually willing to EAT fish. (I grew up in the Midwest and just never had decent seafood.)
The fish was only cooked for 10 minutes total; we had bought fresh fillets, and they cooked faster than frozen would have.
To my surprise, it looks just right. How about that?
The remainder of the seasoned flour was enough to add to the butter for our roux.
Mustard roux, even.
And then, well… eggs. Eggs in mustard sauce.
Once I was looking at this on the platter, I realized it was probably way more cod than the recipe expected. (That’s what happens when you stop selling frozen cod fillets, Birds Eye, I have no idea what you want!)
Despite the bizarre use of eggs, this was pretty darn good. The spinach really needed the mustard sauce, and the eggs were, well, bizarre. But the cod was tasty, and the cod with mustard sauce was delicious.
Oddly, after we’d made the Spinach Isle and I was working on this post, a highly relevant blog post from Improbable Research popped up in my RSS reader. Thanks to the 1956 report “Effects of nuclear explosions on frozen foods,” published by the Atomic Energy Commission, we know that cod fillets are the most likely to pick up radiation when a nuke explodes nearby. Weren’t those guys useful?
So, in the event of nuclear winter, if you’ve found a full chest freezer near Ground Zero and you’re wondering what you can safely eat, go with the strawberries. This neatly avoids not only the radioactive food problem, but you’re spared the ordeal of all the other survivors of the apocalypse wondering why the hell you are putting hard-boiled eggs in a mustard sauce.
The retro advertisement featuring the Cod on a Spinach Isle recipe was put online by Retro Adverto. Cod fillet radiation danger was found via Improbable Research, originally published by the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1956 and available digitally online thanks to the Hathi Trust.