Friday, February 18, 2011

Bacalao, Bacalhau, Baccalà...Salted Cod

Wikipedia tells me that the production of salt cod dates back at least 500 years when Europe's great explorers came across Newfoundland. Cod was plentiful and salting it was a great method of preservation as it allowed the fish to be prepared and consumed several years after.

I'm happy their circumstances forced such ingenuity because I just love salted cod. It takes many names as it's a prominent dish found in French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese cuisines to name a few. My favourite way to prepare it is with tomatoes. A lot of people also add potatoes to their salted cod as it really holds up to the texture well and is a great flavour vehicle. I usually do this but decided to add some cannellini beans as I thought it would add interesting texture and a distinct sweetness.

I served it on some beautiful Italian bread that I thickly sliced and charred on the stove top. For the big finale I drizzled it generously with the best olive oil I bought in Spain. It was ridiculous!

1/2 pound salted cod
5 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup cannellini beans
2 onions
5 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon butter
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon chili flakes (use less if you can't take heat)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Some good bread

You need to soak the cod for 2 days in advance. Rinse the fish with cold water and place in a container with water. Change the water three times a day. When you're ready to use the fish give it one final rinse and pat dry. Reserve.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat butter and oil in a saute pan. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent (about 8 minutes). Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes. You can tear them apart with your hands. It's nice to have large pieces. Add the tomato juice and bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes, beans and sugar. Reduce to a simmer. Gently fold the cod into the sauce and place in the oven for 35 minutes.

Serve on crusty Italian bread that's nicely toasted and drizzle with you best extra virgin olive oil!

No comments:

Post a Comment