The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.


Bloody cod

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall likes to give sardines what he calls the Bloody Mary treatment, which is a good idea for a fast, cheap and satisfying starter. The Editor has stolen his formula for use with canned salt cod in tomato sauce. Two starters, after dinner savories or anytime snacks. May be doubled, tripled &c without calamity.

  • a 4 oz can salt cod in tomato sauce drained of some oil (see the Notes)
  • a splash of hot sauceCod003.jpg
  • a dab of ketchup
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a gill of vodka
  • a slug of Worcestershire

Combine everything in a food processer or blender. The fish should keep a shadow of its flakey texture. Serve the bloody cod on crackers or toast.


A number of producers can salt cod in tomato sauce. The best, as in many things canned, may come from Goya. Their “Codfish in Biscayan Sauce” uses wild fish caught off the coast of Spain and contains nothing but the cod, its salt, vegetable oil, onion, tomato and spice.

The Editor likes to infuse vodka with horseradish, which makes bloody cod even better. Just peel and shred a good knob of horseradish through the biggest holes of a box grater, let it stand in vodka overnight and strain the infusion into a bottle or jar.

There is nothing at all wrong with Fearnley-Whittingstall’s sardine original. Skin and bone them before fashioning the cocktail. Unlike the cod they are easy to blast into paste.

You might try canned mackerel too.