(POSTED: February 25, 2008)
Fish and Brewis
Centuries ago, sailors were often at sea for weeks, and even months, at a time. Few fresh ingredients could survive such lengthy trips...so long-lasting foods became old friends to the cooks in the galley. The crew's favorite dish became fish and brewis...a simple, delicious meal make with salt codfish and seabiscuit ( or hard bread). They called the seabiscuit "brewis" (pronounced "brews") because of their practice of"bruising" or breaking up the bread. Fish and Brewis is still a favorite throughout New Foundland.... even for a Sunday morning breakfast.
4 cakes hard bread (hardtack)
2 lbs. salt cod
1 cup salt pork, finally diced
1/4 cup of butter
2 med. onions, chopped
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup water
1. Break each bread into 2 or 3 pieces and soak for 6 - 8 hours, or overnight, in cold water. ( Use lots of water because it will be absorbed.)
2. Soak salt cod 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 tsp.of salt to water when cooking.
3. In the morning, change water on cod and simmer gently until tender, 5-10 mins. Remove from heat and drain. Skin, bone and flake fish.
4. 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 and mix. Keep hot
5. Fry salt pork until golden brown and crisp. These "scrunchions" and fat may be poured over fish and brewis mixture when served, or mixed with it. Serve hot Drawn butter is sometimes used instead of "scrunchions" Cooking time: 45 mins
1. Melt butter in saucepan, add chopped onions and fry gently until lightly golden and soft (about 10 mins). Do not brown.
2. Sprinkle flour over onions and mix in thoroughly. Remove from heat.
3. Gradually, while stirring, add half water. Place back on heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Beat until shiny and smooth.
4. Slowly add remaining water or until desired consistency is reached. Cook over low heat 2-3 mins. Serve over fish and brewis. 6-8 servings.