Based on Norwegian Fiskegrateng, this is crowd-pleasing Mac and Cheese made wholesome, thanks to the sneaking in of fish and a few peas. Created exclusively for Falcon by the award-winning cook and author, Ed Smith AKA @rocketandsquash. Read more about how Ed came to work in the world of flavour and food below.
A CROWD-PLEASING RECIPE
Can you tell us a bit about you and how you came to cook and write about food?
Always slightly tricky to define myself, as I do a number of different things within ‘food’. But I suppose at the core I’m a cookbook author and recipe writer. I contribute dishes and words to all the major UK food magazines and papers, and have published 3 cookbooks (On the Side, The Borough Market Cookbook, and Crave). This summer I also have a children’s illustrated non-fiction book called Welcome To Our Table coming out (written with my wife, Laura Mucha). It’s not recipes, just good things about food and ingredients and the way they’re prepared, cooked and eaten around the world. And I’m pretty active over on instagram (@rocketandsquash).
How did I end up doing this?! There’s a long answer, but I’ll be brief on this occasion and simply say that 11 years ago I left a perfectly good job as a corporate lawyer at a law firm, retrained as a chef, worked in restaurants, with street food startups, in TV and as a journalist… but the thing I enjoyed the most was recipe development, writing and creating things and I’m fortunate that I now mostly do those things.
Do you have a favourite recipe from your award-winning cookbook, CRAVE, and why?
Depends what I’m craving! The book’s divided into six flavour profiles, one of which I reckon you’ll likely be after on any given day. Those flavours are ‘Fresh and Fragrant’, ‘Tart and Sour’, ‘Chilli and Heat’, ‘Spiced and Curried’, ‘Rich and Savoury’, and ‘Cheesy and Creamy’.
I think our appetites are affected by multiple things, not least the weather and mood. So yeah, my response to this question changes daily. BUT quite often dishes dominated by Chilli and Heat satiate me. And 3 years after I wrote the book, I still regularly cook Sriracha and Lemon Linguine with Chilli Pangrattato. Which is something that takes only as long as the pasta takes to cook, is all store cupboard ingredients, and both packs a punch and is super moreish.
Can you tell us why you like to use Falcon enamelware in your kitchen?
I genuinely use Falcon enamelware ALL THE TIME. I live in London, and as for most people in a city, space is at a premium, so the things I have in my kitchen need to fulfill multiple functions. I like that Falcon are true oven to table items, have an understated and unmistakable style, and stack! My various sizes of pie and baking dishes get used for prep, storage, cooking and serving. Big fan.
What's your favourite ingredient to use this time of year?
Apparently we’re in Spring, although it feels like it’s taken a long time to get here this year. Green and verdant things always feel good right now, so I’m eating a lot of purple sprouting broccoli (blanched, roasted, stir-fried, baked in creamy gratins, dipped in soft eggs) and am looking forward to the arrival of British asparagus.
How will you be celebrating with your family this Easter?
Normally we return to my parents for Easter, where mum and dad still indulge their 4 adult sons with an Easter egg hunt, although now we have to compete with 7 mini nephews and nieces now. There’ll be tears, I imagine. But plenty of chocolate and good times too.
RECIPE FOR COD PASTA BAKE
This is a recipe you could batch cook, whether that’s because people are eating at different times, or perhaps you want to get ahead for the week, with portions held in the fridge or freezer until required.
It sits really well in a Falcon Enamelware bake pan, making the most of the oven-to-table feel. Enjoy the step by step video on our Instagram page here now.
- 500g macaroni (or other small tubed pasta – I used chiferri rigati)
- 400g cod (could also use haddock, pollock, 50:50 smoked haddock etc)
- 150g salted butter
- 150g plain flour
- 1 litre whole milk
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ nutmeg, finely grated
- ⅓ tsp white pepper
- 2 tsp flaky sea salt
- 1 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard
- 200g Jarlsberg, coarsely grated
- 1 egg, beaten
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 200g bread crumbs
- 1 fat clove garlic, minced
- Leaves stripped from 4 sprigs thyme
- 300g frozen peas
To serve: a simple grated carrot salad, and/or green vegetables such as sautéed spinach, chard or kale, or any type of broccoli.
Cook the pasta 1 minute less than suggested, drain, cool under a cold running tap and spread over a large baking dish — something from the @Falconenamel baking set is ideal.
Warm the milk to slightly less than a simmer. Add the fish and poach for 4-5 minutes until near the point it flakes. Remove from the heat. Transfer the fish to a dish and set to one side.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan set over a medium heat. Add the flour and stir into a slack roux. Then add a ladle of warm milk. Beat until fully incorporated. Then repeat, one ladle at a time, each time beating until the milk is incorporated; this prevent lumps.
When all the milk is in, add the nutmeg, pepper, salt and mustard, then cook this very gently, stirring and scraping the edges from time to time for around 10 minutes, until the sauce is velvety and heavy. Turn the heat off. Stir-in the cheese. Wait for 10 minutes then whisk in the egg.
Fry the breadcrumbs in oil for a couple of minutes, add the garlic and thyme cooking for 2 minutes more so golden (but not charred).
Loosen the pasta. Spread the fish over the top in large chunks (it will flake more as you combine things), then the peas. Pour the sauce over, mix well then top with breadcrumbs / decant into different storage dishes and top with breadcrumbs.
2-3 days in the fridge totally fine. Also freezes well. Defrost before reheating. Then 20-25 minutes at 180C fan until molten throughout. Microwaves well too (NB not in metal dishes…).
By Ed Smith (@rocketandsquash)