I'm a fan of the Carribean style salt cod fritters (also called stamp and go ???) which I made this weekend. This time I got some really nice thick fillets from our local Portugese market and it took a full 48 hours and many changes of water to de-salt.
225g salt cod
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 bunch of Spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
half a Scotch bonnet pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
a large sprig of Thyme
3 tbsp vegetable oil
225g plain flour
2 tsp Baking powder
to mix water
Spicy Tomato Sauce
8 Tomatoes, peeled
2 Onions, peeled and chopped
quarter of a Scotch bonnet pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp white sugar
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1. Soak the salted cod in cold water for at least 24 hours changing water, then drain.
2. First make the tomato sauce by blending together all the sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour the tomato sauce into a small saucepan and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place the drained salt cod in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes; drain.
4. Rinse the salted cod under cold water until cool enough to handle. Using your fingers break the salt cod into flakes, picking out and discarding any skin and bones.
5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the small frying pan. Add the chopped onion, spring onion, garlic, and Scotch bonnet pepper. Add the thyme leaves, discarding stalk. Fry over a medium heat, stirring often, until onions are softened, around 5-10 minutes.
6. Mix together the flaked salt cod, the fried onion mixture, flour and baking powder. Add just enough cold water to form a thick batter.
7. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Once hot add tablespoons of the salt cod mixture, flattening them slightly with the back of a spoon. Fry the fritters until set and golden brown on both sides, around 5-10 minutes. Remove the fritters and drain on kitchen paper. Fry the salt cod mixture in batches until it is all used up.
8. Serve the freshly fried salt cod fritters with the warm spicy tomato sauce.
Salt cod has a depth of flavour that cannot be achieved by fresh cod. I would not substitute one for the other. If you make the dishes with fresh cod, it will be a simple fresh fish dish. But it will be different than if you use the salt cod. Nothing stopping you from substituting. But I really love Bacalhao.
Baccala, salted dried cod, is a very hearty and satisfying Italian dish. Before cooking the cod must be soaked in water for at least 2 days, with many changes of water. One wants to remove as much of the salt as possible. What you get is a lovely, fleshly piece of fish with just a hint of salty flavor. The fish is then cooked in a marinara sauce made with choppped onion, garlic, carrot, celery, etc. ....till the cod is cooked though but not mushy. The cod with the sauce is served over soft polenta. Baccala was an annual treat as one of the seven fish dishes served on Christmas Eve at my house when I was growing up.
in NYC Lidia, TV cooking fame, has done her best to push this item. i would check out any of her cookbooks for some good choices. you can make cod cakes or make a cod fish spread. frying it is always a good bet. my family also uses it cold to make a nice salad: red onions, boiled potatoes, parsley and cod.
re: Cheese Boy
Cut the cod fillets into approx. 3"chunks, soak in a pot of cold water for 2-3 days in the fridge, changing the water about 3 times daily. Buy a fish fry batter mix (I use a beer batter mix and a spicy cajun mix). Dip the chunks in the batter and fry in oil until nice and crispy and serve.
I also make mantecato, which is the baccala (salt cod) reconstituted as described above and whipped with boiled potatoes, half and half and olive oil into a spread that is awesome on grilled rustic italian bread. I use a recipe by Lidia Bastianich which works really well.
It can also be used for baccala salad, and in one of my favorite dishes called "Baccala all'Amalfitana" by Mario Batali which I got from the FoodTv website some time ago, but it may still be there.
re: Cheese Boy