Milk Poached Cod with Potatoes

Milk Poached Cod with Potatoes

Recipe inspired by the book “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

Excerpts from the book:

“We got the fish at Loaves and Fishes, with its wooden sign, fish with a smile and eyelashes. It doesn’t sell loaves though. Most households bake their own, though you can get dried-up rolls and wizened doughnuts at Daily Bread, if you run short. Loaves and Fishes is hardly ever open. Why bother opening when there’s nothing to sell?”

Milk Poached Cod with Potatoes

“The sea fisheries were defunct several years ago; the few fish they have now are from fish farms, and taste muddy. The news says the coastal areas are being “rested.” Sole, I remember, and haddock, swordfish, scallops, tuna; lobsters, stuffed and baked, salmon, pink and fat, grilled in steaks. Could they all be extinct, like the whales?”

“I’ve heard that rumour, passed on to me in soundless words, the lips hardly moving, as we stood in line outside, waiting for the store to open, lured by the picture of succulent white fillets in the window. They put the picture in the window when they have something, take it away when they don’t. Sign language.”

Milk Poached Cod with Potatoes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Servings 4
Author Charlotte


  • 8-10 small white potatoes peeled
  • 5 cups water or enough to cover the potatoes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups whole milk or 2 cups whole milk and 1 cup half & half
  • 4 4-6 ounce skinless cod fillets you can also take a large filet a cut it into fourths
  • 1/2 lemon sliced into wedges


  1. In a large pot bring the potatoes, water, and 1 tsp salt to a boil and cook until tender when poked with a knife, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put back in pot to keep warm.
  2. In a medium saucepan or saucier, heat butter, thyme, 2nd tsp of salt, and milk gently on medium low to a low simmer. Add the cod and poach for 8 minutes.
  3. Plate the potatoes and cod in a shallow bowl and pour the warm milk over like a sauce then squeeze a wedge of lemon on top.

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