Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Cod with Aurore Sauce

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Cod with Aurore Sauce
The Atlantic cod was called by author Mark Kurlansky, "the fish that changed the world." Certainly, no other fish was as formative in the settlement of the eastern coast of North America, and in forming the booming fishing towns of New England and Canada. The cod you buy may come from the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean. Both types are similar enough that one can replace the other, but Pacific cod provide larger, thicker fillets. Cod is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is especially rich in lean protein and vitamin B-12. On the downside, some types of cod contain high amounts of sodium, and it’s a moderate source of mercury. In this recipe I am using Atlantic Cod. Make the sauce first, and proceed with steps.

4 servings


4 cod filets, about 1-inch thick

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400° and pat cod filets with a paper towel until dry. Sprinkle the flesh with salt and pepper. Coat a baking pan with olive oil, place cod in the pan and pour sauce over it. Bake for 20 minutes or until the flesh turns completely white and flaky. The size of the cod fillets dictates the cooking time. Adjust accordingly. Serve with roasted corn, or greens of choice.

Aurore sauce

The gorgeous pinkish-red color of this sauce earned it the name Aurore, French for sunrise. The color comes from the concentrated tomato purée added to a classic velouté, along with some butter, to make a smooth sauce with surprisingly deep flavors. It's terrific with eggs, fish, chicken, and vegetables.

Ingredients for sauce

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted    

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour    

1 cup milk hot     

Salt to taste     

White pepper to taste     

1 pinch nutmeg optional

1 tablespoon tomato paste or 2 to 4 tablespoon purée     


Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not let it brown. Add flour and stir until mixture is well blended and bubbling. Gradually stir in the hot milk, whisking continuously until the mixture returns to the boil and begins to thicken. Simmer the sauce, stirring frequently, over very low heat for 3 minutes. Stir in from 2 to 4 tablespoons of tomato purée or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Cook for another 2 minutes. The amount of tomato added can be varied to your taste and color requirements. Adjust flavors taste with salt, white pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (optional).


Cod attracted Europeans to North America for short-term fishing trips and eventually enticed them to stay as fishermen profited from this fish that had flaky white flesh, a high protein content and low fat content. As Europeans explored North America looking for passage to Asia, they discovered an abundance of huge cod, and started fishing along the coast of what is now New England, using temporary fishing camps. Along the rocks of the New England coast, settlers perfected the technique of preserving cod through drying and salting so it could be transported back to Europe and fuel trade and business for the new colonies. As put by Kurlansky, cod "had lifted New England from a distant colony of starving settlers to an international commercial power."    

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog

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