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Fish and Brewis

Fish and Brewis. A very old traditional Newfoundland recipe made from hard tack and salt cod. It’s still an incredibly popular dish year round as well as at the holidays like Easter, Good Friday and Christmas Eve.

Featured image for fish and brewis

Fish and Brewis.

Our friend Chef Mark Mc Crowe joins us again this week to bring you a staple Newfoundland recipe that is especially popular during Easter week. Fish and Brewis is a staple year round in Newfoundland but it seems everyone makes it at least once Christmas or Easter week.

Ingredients for Fish and Brewis

Ingredients for Fish and Brewis.

Good Friday and Christmas Eve in particular will see many homes dishing up this traditional favorite.

With that, I’ll turn you over to the chef. …And if you are not following Chef  Mark Mc Crowe on Instagram, it’s high time you did! 

Mark McCrowe headshot

Chef Mark McCrowe in his home kitchen.

Fish and Brewis

Made with salt cod and hard tack. This is the quintessential Newfoundland fish dish.

Pronounced “brews” this dish dates back to the early years of fishing in Newfoundland when cod was salted to preserve it for trade. The hard tack bread as well was dried to both be reconstituted and turned into a substantial meal in the off season or even while on a long fishing trip to feed the fisherman at sea.

Close up image of fish and brewis on a serving spoon

Fish and brewis.

Its a dish that I grew up with and every time I make it today I can’t help but be transported to my Nan’s kitchen as a child growing up around the bay.

There are many ways to go about this dish, but the simple theory is to soak then boil your fish, potatoes and hard tack while in a separate pan cooking down your salted pork scrunchions till crispy and golden.

The hallmark to a proper good fish and brewis is adding your onions to the crisp pork scrunchions and cooking them out till they are rendered a deep golden crispy brown. Its that development of flavour that will set yours apart from the rest.

Finished fish and brewis with parsley

Finished fish and brewis with parsley.

My only departure from the traditional recipe is to finish the dish under the broiler with a little of the pork fat reserved from the rendering to give the whole thing a crispy top. I add a little chopped fresh parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to make the whole thing pop.

soaking the salt cod before cooking

Soaking the salt cod before cooking.

Soaking hard tack

Soaking hard tack.

Salt cured pork fat

Salt cured pork fat.

 
 
Hard tack and cod soaking before preparing the fish and brewis

Hard tack and cod soaking before preparing the fish and brewis.

Cutting potatoes for fish and brewis

Cutting potatoes for fish and brewis.

Do not cut onions too small

Do not cut onions too small.

Rendering the salted fat pork

Rendering the salted fat pork.

Caramelize the onions so that they are well browned

Caramelize the onions so that they are well browned.

 
Drain the salt cod after cooking

Drain the salt cod after cooking.

Drain the boiled hard tack and potatoes

Drain the boiled hard tack and potatoes.

Boiling the hard tack and salt cod

Boiling the hard tack and salt cod.

In the frying pan.

In the frying pan.

Everything hits the pan

Everything hits the pan.

Adding pork fat to the top (optional)

Adding pork fat to the top (optional)

A few minutes under the broiler is optional but delicious

A few minutes under the broiler is optional but delicious.

Love Newfoundland recipes?

If you’d like to see more traditionally inspired recipes from our province, please check out this collection on some of our Most Popular Newfoundland recipes.
Top Ten Newfoundland Recipes photo collage for Pinterest 

Like these Fish and Brewis recipe?

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Fish and Brewis photo with title text added for Pinterest

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Featured image for fish and brewis
Yield: 4 servings

Fish and Brewis

Fish and Brewis. A very old traditional Newfoundland recipe made from hard tack and salt cod. It's still an incredibly popular dish year round as well as at the holidays like Easter, Good Friday and Christmas Eve.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless salted cod, soaked in cold water over night
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 6 biscuits of hard tack, soaked in water
  • 3 small onions, sliced
  • 1 cup salted pork fat, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh parsley to garnish
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot bring the peeled and sliced potatoes to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain excess water off the soaked hard tack and add to the potato pot to continue simmering for about 10 minutes.
  3. In a separate small pot add the drained salt cod and top up with fresh water.
  4. Bring the salt cod to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. In a third large skillet slowly render out the pork scrunchion fat until crispy and golden brown.
  6. Drain off 75% off the fat and reserve for later to top the dish.
  7. Sauté sliced onions with the crispy pork scrunchions until onions are a deep golden brown. About 15 minutes.
  8. Drain both the potato and hard tack as well as the salt cod and stir into the crispy onion pan. Have a taste and adjust seasoning, keeping in mind the salt cod and scrunchions are both salty.
  9. Transfer the whole mix into a oven safe dish. Top with extra pork fat drippings if desired and broil under your oven broiler setting for about 5-10 minutes or just until a nice golden crust is formed.
  10. Top with fresh chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy!  

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 767Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 78mgSodium 2385mgCarbohydrates 94gFiber 8gSugar 7gProtein 40g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Jay

Saturday 30th of April 2022

A bit fancier looking than the traditional way we newfies make it around they bay.

Cavelle

Friday 15th of April 2022

Not a fan of cooking the hard tack for that long.. it creates a very mushy consistency. It only needs to be brought ALMOST to a boil.. imho

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