Neptune's Dinner

Friday 29 September 2017

Back in the 1960's and 70's, perhaps even the 1980's the provincial newspaper back home (called The Chronical Herald) used to run recipe contests every year.   Once the winners had been picked they would publish an insert to the paper containing all of the recipes that had been sent in, along with the prize winners in each category, etc.   My mom used to collect the inserts, and I used to copy out recipes that I thought looked delicious into my binder!  (No surprise there!)

This delicious recipe was a prize winner one year in the Seafood category.  I am sorry that I cannot remember who was the author of it, or even the year that it won.  All I can say for sure is that it is  a fabulously tasty recipe that I have been pleasing my family with for many years, so it was well worth a first place prize!

A wonderfully crisp and buttery cheese and sesame crust, almost like a savoury shortbread, is topped with chopped onion and fresh fish fillets. I use Cod because that is our favourite fish, but I would think, however, that any mild flavoured fish would work well.

The cod gets sprinkled with more chopped onion and some chopped cucumber along with seasoned fine bread crumbs.  You bake it for about 20 minutes in a hot oven . . .

Then you take it out and cover it with a cheese custard sauce, which is made from sour cream, an egg, grated cheese and a packet of dry mushroom soup mix.  Just pour this on top and back into the oven it goes for a further 25 minutes.

The end result is really tasty   . . . each mouthful bringing you  the delicious flavours of that cheesy sesame shortbread crust, the onion and cucumber, that moist flakey fish, and the rich custard topping.

I hope you will try this despite how it looks. I know it isn't very visually appealing, but this is one case where you don't want to judge the book by its cover!

*Neptune's Dinner*
Serves 4

This was a first prize winning recipe I have adapted from a recipe contest run by the Chronical Herald back home in the 1970's. Its delicious!

For the base:
201g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt (divided)
3/4 tsp black pepper (divided)
60g  of grated strong cheddar cheese (1/2 cup)
80g sesame seed (1/2 cup)
120g of cold butter (1/2 cup)

For the filling:
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 pound fish fillets (I use Cod or haddoc)
1/3 of an English cucumber, peeled, deseeded and chopped
2 TBS fine dry bread crumbs
2 TBS olive oil

For the topping:
1 large free range egg
120g dairy sour cream (1 cup
1 packet of dry mushroom soup mix (single serving size)
60g grated strong cheddar cheese (1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Have ready a 12 by 8 inch baking dish.  Set aside for the time being.

Sift the flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp of the salt, and 1/2 tsp of the pepper into a bowl.  Cut the butter into cubes and drop into the flour mixture.  Rub the butter in with your finger tips until the mixture resembles dry bread crumbs.  Stir in the sesame seed and grated cheese.  Press this mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.  Sprinkle over half of the chopped onion.  Top with the fish fillets.  Sprinkle the remaining onion along with the cucumber over top and season the fish and cucumber with half of the remaining salt and pepper.   Stir together the crumbs and olive oil and season with the remainder of the salt and pepper.  Sprinkle this over the fish.  Bake in the heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Whisk together the egg, sour cream, mushroom soup mix and cheddar cheese.  Remove the casserole dish from the oven and spread this topping over top.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes.  Serve hot.

All these years later I can't help thinking that instead of the chopped cucumber, you could use chopped blanched broccoli or green beans.  The cucumber really doesn't add much in the way of flavour. In fact it has no flavour at all.  Other than to update it, I would not change a thing!  Bon Appetit!


  1. Does the butter get cut into the base? It says filling.

    1. Sorry Ben, I put the subtitle in the recipe in the wrong place. I meant it to be after the butter. In the instructions it clearly states to drop the butter into the flour mixture. Sorry about any confusion and thanks for noticing my error! Whew! Appreciated. Having said that I do hope you try the recipe!

  2. Continuing with my "Fish on Friday" kick, I made this one for dinner this evening. I've always rather liked a fish pie and this incorporated that idea but in an easier format - less faffing about, which suits me :)

    That sesame cheese crust is beautiful. I've got my thinking cap on to try and work out other recipes I can use it with. I heeded your tip and added some little blanched broccolini florets and peas to the cod fillets. It added a splash of colour as well as flavour and went very well with the creamy cheese sauce. I loved that you didn't need to make a white sauce, but just mix a few things together, pour it over and let the oven do the work.

    I can see why this was a prize winning recipe - and a real keeper. We added salad and it made a great Friday meal.

    1. Thanks so much Marie! I love LOVE that you are trying these older recipes I posted and that you are taking the time to review them. That really means a lot to me! I so appreciate it! Also very pleased that you enjoyed this prize winner! xoxo


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