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salted cod

I have seen lots of recipes for salted cod or baccala. Is it worth the effort to put it in the frig and change the water several times a day for three days to wash the salt out. Is it really better than fresh. I live in Wis and I know that it is not cheaper

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  1. I use salt cod quite a bit and while you can sub in fresh cod, there would be a subtle flavor and texture change. Also, depending on the dish, I might only soak the cod for 24 hours with 3 changes of water.

    1. It's a different beast, i.e., using fresh as opposed to dry salted......Personally, I do not care for it as a replacement for fish fillets whole, but added to a salad is acceptable. I prefer to make Cod Cakes mixed with potatoes and aromatics, coated with some form of breadcrumbs

      1. It serves a different purpose. When eating fish plain, I want fresh, but for Portuguese dishes such as bacalao a gomes de sa (salt cod casserole), it's essential. I find that it has a very pleasant chewy texture.

        And yes, you do have to do the soaking and changing thing. I tried to cut down on that the first time I bought salt cod, and the results were inedible.

        1. I say 24 hours is enough if you change the water regularly. I don't refrigerate it unless it is hot in the kitchen. It is not better than fresh, it is different. And the recipes that use it depend upon that particular flavor, texture and saltiness to make the dish as it is supposed to be. I used it most for brandade and cold cakes--in neither case would fresh cod create the same dish. I now chop it in the food processor for both those dishes, it gives a less stringy texture which I like.

          1 Reply
          1. re: escondido123

            I love salt cod. I usually find 24 hours enough, with frequent changes, and I've gone to 48 hours, but no need for 3 days. I don't refrigerate it, just keep it in a big pot in the sink. I don't make it during summer, though. I flake it and bake it with tomatoes, black beans, and capers....sometimes sliced potato also.

          2. i agree with fourunder - its not necessarily better, its different. you do have to soak & change, but maybe not for 3 days. 1 day wroks for me.
            when i first tried it, i was underwhelmed, but over time, it really grew on me. i think if you grew up with it (i did not) you'd have a real appreciation for it.
            as for the price, it used to be dirt cheap, but with the state of the cod stocks, it ain't exactly peasant food anymore.

            1. Bacalao is very different from fresh cod.

              1. I love salt cod, and wouldn't consider fresh to be a suitable substitute in a traditional recipe. The soaking time needed will vary with the size of the fillets. Most of what is sold in the US (esp. the stuff in the wooden boxes) is thin, and a 24 hour soak is plenty. However, if you are able to get a big thick fillet, say 2" thick, a longer soak will be needed. It may take some trial and error to dial in the right soaking time for the type of salt cod available to you.

                1. I was wondering how long salted cod is salted for. Prosciutto is salted for a minimum of twelve months, and at 18 months that same prosciutto takes on a better taste if left out to continue to dry. Is cod the same way? I know that good quality dried cod uses good quality salt. The Portuguese, and in part the Canadians and the Italians, have mastered the art of drying cod. Norwegians, believe it or not, get their cod from Portugal because they find it to be superior to their own. Having tried so many varieties, I think the salt definitely has some bearing on the final taste and consistency.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Cheese Boy


                    indicates that Iceland and Norway are the largest producers and exporters of salt cod, while Portugal, Spain and Greece are the largest importers.

                    The salt comes from those southern countries. It also discusses why people like salt cod, what they want (degree of salting, cuts) etc.

                  2. Bumping this tread to ask if salted cod is something that is readily available in regular supermarkets in the US?

                    I want to make some puertorrican "bacalaitos" fritters, In hispanic markets you can readily find labeled as "bacalao" but I don't have one close by and I'm not sure what to buy in american markets. All i know is that bacalao and salted cod are the same thing, but I'm used to seeing fresh cod in the local supermarkets.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: alliels

                      I buy it at my local grocery store in the refrigerated case in the seafood section--not the freezer section with the fish sticks. It comes in a wooden box which I immediately encase in a plastic bag and put in the freezer because it can put out a very pungent aroma.

                      1. re: escondido123

                        Thanks for replying! I'll keep an eye out when I go grocery shopping today, hopefully I'll find it here.