Roasted Vegetable and Cod Casserole

The Comeback: Casseroles

"I grew up with my mom making super Americana rotary-club-type casseroles," says Justin Smillie, chef of Upland in New York City and author of the cookbook Slow Fires. "Canned mushroom soup, crispy corn flakes, and Fritos on top, that kind of thing." As an adult, Smillie still loves a casserole, but in a much more refined form. His cod—parsnip version, shot through with garlicky croutons and topped with crispy fried garlic and shallots, caused our whole staff to give the chef a standing ovation when he made it in our test kitchen last year. "I just love a good, bubbly, gooey, comforting casserole when it gets cold out," Smillie says. Us too. See the recipe for Roasted Vegetable and Cod Casserole »Matt Taylor-Gross

Laced with garlicky croutons and topped with crispy fried shallots, this parsnip-and-cod casserole from chef Justin Smillie of Upland, is the perfect bubbling thing when the weather turns cold.

Roasted Vegetable and Cod Casserole
Shot through with garlicky croutons and topped with crispy fried shallots, this parsnip-and-cod casserole is the perfect bubbling thing when the weather turns cold.
Yield: serves 8-10
Time: 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 34 cups thinly sliced shallots, plus 2 whole shallots
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 12 cups olive oil
  • 2 lb. celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. smoked sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 lb. crustless sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 lb. skinless cod fillets, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 300°. In an 8-inch square baking dish, combine the sliced shallots with the vinegar, two-thirds of the garlic, the celery, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, then pour the olive oil over the top. Bake until the vegetables are confited and very tender, about 1 12 hours. Transfer the dish to a rack and let cool. Pour the vegetables and oil through a fine sieve into a bowl and reserve the vegetables and oil in separate bowls.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 375°. On a baking sheet, toss the celery root and parsnips with 14 cup of the reserved olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the vegetables are very tender, about 50 minutes. Scrape the roasted vegetables into the bowl with the confited vegetables and stir to combine. In another bowl, whisk the cream with the smoked salt and eggs until smooth.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the remaining reserved olive oil in a small saucepan and heat to 350° on a deep-fry thermometer. Thinly slice the remaining 2 shallots and add to the oil along with the remaining garlic and cook until the aromatics turn golden brown and crisp, about 1 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots and garlic to paper towels to drain and discard the oil.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Line the bottom of a 3-qt. oval baking dish with one-third of the bread, followed by one-third of the vegetables, half of the cod, and one-third of the cream. Add another third of the bread on top, followed by another third of the vegetables, the remaining half of the cod, and another third of the cream. Top with the remaining bread, vegetables, and cream and press the ingredients gently with your hands to compact. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the casserole is browned on top and bubbly in the center, about 20 minutes more. Transfer the dish to a rack and sprinkle with the fried shallots and garlic before serving.