Friday, November 9, 2012

Fish 'n' Brewis

It doesn't look like much, ladies and gentlemen, but don't let this picture fool you, behold the deliciousness that is Fish 'n' Brewis. 'What is this masterpiece?' you ask? Well my friends, it's a very simple, very delicious, combination of 3 ingredients: Codfish, Hard Bread, and Scrunchions a.k.a. tiny fried pieces of pork fat. Next to Jigs Dinner, this is the quintessential Newfoundland food.

Now, I will admit, like most Newfoundland dishes, there are a few varieties. Some people like to mash potato into the mix, or substitute the scrunchions with fried onions (a much healthier alternative). There's also some discrepancies in the naming, I like to call the above fish 'n' brewis, while my husband and his family refer to it as Fisherman's Brewis and call Fish 'n' brewis a decomposed version of the dish served with potatoes. Either way, this is what comes to mind when I hear the words fish 'n' brewis, it is the best, and my favourite way to eat it... not that I'd turn down the other stuff ;)

  • Cod Fillets (enough for who you're serving)
  • Purity Hard Bread Biscuits (approx. 1/person)
  • Pork fatback (approx. 1/2 cup)

1) Take out hard bread, approximately 1 piece per person. Place in a pot of water to soak overnight. If you're using frozen cod, don't forget to take it out to thaw - I'm exceptionally good at forgetting this step!

2) Once everything is thawed/soaked etc. cut the rind from the salt pork and cut fat into small cubes - be careful not to cut them too small, as they shrivel slightly when you fry them. Fry on medium heat.

3) Once pork is frying, boil the hard bread and fish in separate pots, leaving the hard bread in the same water it was soaked in the previous night. Boil on medium-high. As soon as the hard bread begins to boil, remove from heat and drain.

4) Once you can piece apart the fish easily with a fork, it's ready to go. Drain the water, and carefully remove any skin. Toss in the brewis, and mash away. Be sure not to pulverize the fish, just mash enough to combine the two ingredients. I like there to be more fish than brewis, so judge as you go, you may not need all of the brewis you've put aside.

5) Next comes the part that makes me shudder... add the scrunchions, AS WELL AS the fat that has poured out of them - this is key to the amazing flavour of the dish! If you're the slightest bit health conscience, this is not a dish you will make often. I like to hold back a little on the fat, but know not to do this when my parents are in town. I'll never forget the first time I made it for them, I didn't realize the fat was supposed to go in the food and my dad caught me in the act of dumping the fat into a jar for disposal... I think he wanted to disown me! lol

Anywho, that's it, give it all a stir and serve it up. I'm a fish 'n' brewis purist and like to eat it as is, but some people like to top it with lots of pepper, and others, including my husband, like to top it with molasses (pictured below). Whatever floats your boat really. Enjoy ;)


  1. Fish & Brewis is made with salt fish whereas Fisherman's Brewis is made with fresh (unsalted) fish.

  2. Fish & Brewis is made with salt fish whereas Fisherman's Brewis is made with fresh (unsalted) fish.

  3. Fish & Brewis is when the fish and Brewis are seperate, Fishermans Brewis is when its all mashed together like above....

  4. Has anyone heard of a fish stew that is made with the fatback cut into cubes and fried in the bottom of an iron pot then add cod fillets around the edge of the pot and fill the middle with sliced potatoes and the cook for 1/2 hour? My dad made this and I can't find anything like it online. It was more like a fish hash then stew.

  5. Hello Bonita's Kitchen!

    My name is R.J. Howard & I have used your site for many recipies & reference information. I am currently conducting research for the Battle Harbour National Historic Site on behalf of the Economuse. (Web addresses located below)
    I have been requested to find written & photographic histories about Salt Fish N' Brewis & it's importance in Newfoundland & Labrador. This information/photography will then be used to make Tourist Information panels that are to be displayed near the Historic Battle Harbour General Store.
    I noticed that you are using a lovely photograph of this iconic NL dish, (Through my research so far I have noticed that Fish & Brewis isn't exsactly photogenic! Ha Ha Ha!) So I was wondering if I could ask your permission to take a copy of your Fish & Brewis image, along with the photographer's name + any extra information, & submit it along with my research? I do not know if they will use this particular Fish & Brewis image, but if they do you will be referenced accordingly.
    Thank you so much for your time,
    Happy Cookin'!
    Thankfully yours,
    R.J. Howard