We used to cook bacalao (salt cod) only during the Lent season, we went to a restaurant when we want to eat it at other times of the year. Nowadays, I prepare it whenever I feel like it. Salt cod is readily available in my area, rather cheap too, as there is a large Hispanic community here, from both South America and Europe. In Portugal, according to Tania Gomes, the author of the cookbook THE FLAVORS OF PORTUGAL bacalhau is an important part of the Portuguese Christmas Eve dinner.
This popular Portuguese salt cod dish is from my 17 year old cookbook THE FOOD OF SPAIN AND PORTUGAL by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz.
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
1 pound dried salt cod
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
1 pound potatoes, boiled, then sliced
16 pitted oil-cured black olives, sliced in half
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
2 large hard boiled eggs, quartered
- Soak the cod in cold water for 24 hours, changing water often, if using Canadian (like mine) which is less salty, shorten the soaking time to 6 hours. Simmer the cod in water for 15 minutes, drain, cool, remove bones and skin, then flake meat. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions until soft but do not let it brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Grease a shallow casserole and layer potatoes, onion, cod, olives and parsley, ending in onion rings, seasoning each layer with ground pepper.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes. Serve garnished with eggs and sprinkled with more parsley. I serve mine with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.