Poached Cod with Parsley Sauce

Creamy parsley sauce -- here, over cod -- is an old English favorite. The herb is stirred in at the end, so it maintains its vibrant flavor and color. This main dish is delicious served with boiled potatoes or rice.
Martha Stewart Living, May 2004
  • Yield Serves 4
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  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 strip lemon peel (3 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 cod fillets (5 ounces each), skinned
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought fish or vegetable stock
  • Coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add flour; whisk until a paste forms. Reduce heat to low; cook, whisking, 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, pour in milk in a slow, steady stream; whisk until incorporated. Whisk in stock. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Stir in parsley and chives.

  2. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/2 quarts water, the lemon peel, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saute pan or other wide straight-sided pan. Place fillets in liquid (do not crowd). Return to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat. Let stand until just cooked through, about 10 minutes.

  3. Reheat sauce over medium-low heat, if necessary, and add remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Gently lift fillets from liquid with a slotted spatula; place a fillet on each of four plates. Spoon one-quarter of sauce over each serving, and garnish with a parsley sprig.

Recipe Reviews

Reviews (2)

  • Veronikalloi 13 Sep, 2014

    Absolutely delicious! i just added cracked black pepper to the sauce and some pepper corns to the water, and voila!
    This recipe will make you look like a pro chef !

  • oxford_guy 22 Sep, 2011

    Wow! Have just cooked this, was gorgeous! Mind you, I did cook it for two people (and 2 fillets of cod), but didn't halve the quantity of sauce - naughty, but nice! I served it with rice and steamed french green beans. Only changes I made - in the initial 10 minutes of cooking the sauce, I added a bay leaf and a couple of parsley stalks to add flavour, but removed them before adding the fresh herbs. I also added a pinch of ground nutmeg to the sauce. Will definitely cook this again!