Fish and Brewis
Another traditional dish from Newfoundland.
Centuries ago, sailors were often at sea for weeks, and even months, at a time. Very few fresh ingredients could survive such long trips … so long-lasting became old friends to the cooks in the galley. The crews favourite dish became fish and brewis … a simple delicious meal made with salt codfish and seabiscuit (also known as hard bread). They called the seabiscuit ‘brewis’ (pronounced ‘brews’) because of their practice of ‘bruising’ or breaking the bread. Fish and Brewis is still a favourite meal in many Newfoundland households … even for Sunday morning breakfast.
Soaking Time: 6-8 hours
Cooking Tine: 45 Minutes
4 cakes hard bread (hardtact)
2 pounds salt cod
1 cup salt pork, finely diced
¼ cup butter
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup water
Break each cake of hard bread into two or three pieces and soak for 6 -8 hours, or overnight, in cold water. (Use lots of water because it will be absorbed)
Soak salt fish in separate bowl of cold water for 6-8 hours, or overnight. ( Change water once or twice if you prefer less salt.) If using fresh fish, add 1 teaspoon of salt to water when cooking.
In the morning, change water on cod and simmer gently until tender, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Skin, bone and flake fish.
Place hard bread in saucepan with enough water to cover bread (use water in which it soaked). Heat slowly just until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and drain immediately. Add cooked flaked fish mix. Keep hot.
Fry salt pork until golden brown and crisp. These ’scrunchions’ and fat may be poured over the fish and brewis mixture when served, or mixed with it. Serve hot.
Drawn butter is sometimes used instead of ’scrunchions’.
Melt butter in saucepan, add chopped onions and fry gently until lightly golden and soft (about 10 minutes) Do not brown.
Sprinkle flour over onions and mix in thoroughly. Remove from heat.
Gradually, while stirring, add half the water. Place back on heat and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Beat until shiny and smooth.
Slowly add remainder of water or until desired consistency is reached. Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Serve over fish and brewis.