your favorite recipes for salt cod
I've been using a recipe from Saveur and I feel like I should get out of my rut. OTOH, a lot of those mashed cod + potato + milk recipes don't appeal. What do you like?
Unhelpfully, that recipes isn't on their website. Sorry - I thought I'd be sharing it. It's with tomato sauciness and vinegar and raisins and I've served it as part of a Seven Fishes Xmas Eve dinner many times.
There are a lot of other recipes & some general info about salt cod:
Have you mastered the technique? There was a demo of this on Spain On the Road Again, where they made the emulsion simply by swirling the cazuela with the fish and oil in it. But I've also watched videos where the fish is removed from the pan after cooking, and the mesh of a small strainer is used as a whisk to create the emulsion. In the Road Again case, they were actually using hake cheeks instead of salt cod. I don't know if that made a difference or not.
I looked up my faves in my recipe folder, and apparently never got around to writing them down! But one we've enjoyed the most was a baked stew, starting with chunks of the cod dredged in flour and then sautéed to a crusty gold. You gently cook sliced-up onions and poblano peppers (or sweet, which I can't use because Mrs. O hates'em) in oil until soft, add garlic and chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomato starts to melt, then add the cod, cut-up potatoes, some dry white wine (into which I throw some saffron) and put into a covered casserole, season to taste, and consign to the oven (350º) for about 40 minutes. Stir in a bunch of black olives for garnish if you want to. For carb reduction this works without the potatoes, too.
A dish I made for Christmas Eve, from one of my bistro-food cookbooks, also started with floured and fried salt cod. This is combined with sautéed onion and sliced boiled potatoes (still a little firm) in a greased gratin pan and Comté cheese (or a decent Gruyere) grated over, then it's put in a hot oven for about fifteen minutes. You can tell why this is a bistro classic, as it'd be almost easier to make up a whole batch of these in advance and bake them as needed than to make just one. Anyway, for something so stupidly simple it was ridiculously good, so now we finally have our family's Traditional Christmas Eve Supper.
Perhaps I should add, just to be safe, that the cod in both dishes should be soaked to soften and de-salt first. But you knew that, didn't you?
re: Will Owen
Olive, always. I've mostly given up on canola for frying - has that odd stale taste. Anyway, olive is what they use all around the Mediterranean. This was originally a Provençal sort of thing, but grinding a few threads of saffron and adding that to the wine takes it around to Spain, very enjoyably. A few dashes of smoked paprika seals the deal, by the way.
I have a some recipes I picked up from an Italian source - I don't even remember where now. Here's one that's like mine, but simpler:
Baccalà alla Fiorentina
2 pounds (1 k) soaked baccalà cut into two-inch slices across the grain and floured
1/2 cup of olive oil
2-3 crushed peeled cloves of garlic
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound peeled, seeded fresh tomatoes or 3/4 pound canned tomatoes.
A bunch of parsley, minced
Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic. When it's lightly browned, add the fish, shifting it about gently lest it stick. When one side's browned, turn it gently and brown the other. Add a pinch of freshly ground pepper (salt shouldn't be necessary) and sprinkle with a little bit of wine. When the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes and continue cooking for a few minutes, till the sauce is cooked; sprinkle with the minced parsley and serve hot. Serves four.
The other two recipes in this set involve the kind of all-day prep elderly Italian housewives used to do all the time, so we'll skip those...
I did find my original recipe, though (it was in the Casseroles folder instead of Fish/Seafood). Here it is - you'll note the fish is not fried in this one:
Cod Stew Provençal
1/2 lb. salt cod, soaked and freshened
3 smallish White Rose potatoes
1/2 med. onion, or one small
6 canned whole green chiles, Ortega preferred
3 ripe Roma tomatoes
1 small can sliced black olives
1/2 cup+ olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt, pepper, Herbes de Provence, Spanish smoked paprika
Scrub potatoes if they need it. Place into 2 1/2 qt. pot of cold water, cover. Bring to boil, uncover, salt heavily, and boil for ten minutes. Drain and chill in cold water; peel when cool enough to handle and cut into bite-sized chunks. Cut up codfish similarly, likewise the chiles and tomatoes. Put into a big bowl.
Chop the onion coarsely and put on to cook in the half-cup of oil. When it starts simmering pretty well, reduce heat and cover for five minutes or so, then stir in grindings of black pepper, a large pinch of Herbes de Provence and about a half-teaspoon of the paprika. Stir that over heat for a while then dump it in with the rest of the stuff, and follow with the olives. Stir everything together, salt to taste, then transfer it to a coverable casserole dish, preferably one just large enough to contain it with an inch or so of headroom. Drool a bit more olive oil over all, followed by some sprinkling of vinegar. Cover and place in middle of a cold oven. Set heat to 350º. Take it out in an hour and set it on a hot tray for another half-hour, unless you can't control yourself. After this you might want to have some pastis while you go out and play a little petanque...