Saturday, July 31, 2010

Portuguese Salted Cod Fish (Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá)

As I mentioned in a previous post my family and I will be in Morocco for a few weeks. I will try as much as possible to post from here and hopefully get you some local recipes in time for Ramadan.

For now, here is a delicious Portuguese recipe also very popular in Brazil. Until recently I didn’t know I could find salted cod in the U.S. so I my craving for this dish went unrequited. But thanks to a new local fresh market that stocks this unique style of fish I've fallen in love with this dish all over again.

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

I like to cook my potatoes in the same water I cooked the cod fish. If you don’t want to do that go ahead and put a little bit of salt in the water you are going to cook the potatoes but don’t put much as the cod fish is already very salty. Traditionally, sliced boiled eggs decorate this dish but because of my son’s egg allergy I left the eggs on the side so that the others could add to their own plate. I also like garlic a lot so I used 12 cloves but 6 would have probably worked for most people.

1 1/2 lb cod fish salted boneless
4 potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick and cooked al dente
4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded, cut into slices
½ red bell pepper cut into slices
½ yellow or green bell pepper cut into slices
1 very large onion thinly sliced
6 to 12 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1 cup finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp thinly sliced chives
Extra virgin olive oil, as the Portuguese would say "quanto basta", or as needed
About ½ lb green olives, maybe a little less (mine went fast as my kids kept getting them before I could put in the dish)
4 boiled eggs sliced for garnish, optional (see notes)

Soak sliced cod in cold water to cover for at least 24 hours (I leave in the fridge), changing the water occasionally, drain.

Cover the soaked cod in water and boil for about 7 minutes. Then remove the cod and boil sliced potato in same water just until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Flake the cod into large pieces and set aside.

In a saute pan, over medium heat, add 1/2 cup of extra virgin oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute until lightly golden. Reserve the garlic and olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Now it is time to prepare the dish using a 9" x 13" glass bakeware.

Spread the potatoes over the bottom of the dish. Then spread the salt cod over the potatoes. Next, place the tomatoes over the salt cod. Top the tomatoes with the bell peppers and then a layer of onions. Drizzle about 1 cup of olive oil over the onions. Sprinkle parsley and chives over the onions and then place olives. Top with garlic and drizzle the entire pan with the remaining olive oil that you used to saute the garlic.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil, place in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Garnish with the sliced eggs.

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