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Salt Cod Diary


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#61 Jim Dixon

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:29 AM

Make your own salt cod:

Homemade Salt Cod with Root Vegetables
olive oil + salt
Real Good Food

#62 qrn

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 07:34 PM

Good timing, I have been trying to remember what my grandmothers canederli with a saltcod based white sauce was really like.(last time I had it was probably in the 1940's), anyway will go to the Italian market one of these days soon, and buy some and make up a batch.. Then get to work on my canederli technique..
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#63 LindaK

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 05:03 AM

Chiles Rellenos de Bacalao

A detour to Mexico, courtesy of Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen. I did a double-take when I stumbled across the recipe. Until now I had not seen any mention of salt cod in Mexican cooking, but Bayless says that it is a standard on Oaxacan Christmas menus.

First you make the filling—salt cod simmered in a sauce of roasted tomatoes, diced potato, onion, garlic, green olives, parsley, and jalapeno. The strong flavors balance the cod nicely. The recipe has you cook the cod for more than 1 hour, but that seemed like a crazy long time to me. I pulled it off the heat after 30 minutes, that was plenty, unless you want the salt cod to turn to mush.


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Roast poblanos, remove seeds, fill, then bake. Very easy and tasty. Here they are just out of the oven, a little overfilled. I don’t have a photo of the plated rellenos but I served them with beans and rice on the side with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.


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This would be a good recipe for someone unsure about whether they’ll like salt cod. Bayless says that it took him a while to develop a taste for it, too.

I must say, the total deliciousness of pairing salt cod with chiles has taken me by surprise.


 


#64 Chris Amirault

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 06:21 PM

That's fascinating. What variety of green olives did you use?
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#65 heidih

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 07:54 PM

I think the chile and salt cod marriage sounds wonderful. I will have to explore. At the end of this, how would you describe the texture of the cod?

#66 LindaK

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 06:11 AM

That's fascinating. What variety of green olives did you use?


Manzanillo, per Bayless's recommendation. They added both texture and acidity from the brine--a nice addition to the mix.

I think the chile and salt cod marriage sounds wonderful. I will have to explore. At the end of this, how would you describe the texture of the cod?


The cod had broken into flakes when I stopped the cooking, firm but still tender. Like fresh fish, it can get tough if overcooked so once it was done I took the mixture off the heat. The rellenos were only in the oven for a short time, just to heat them through, it didn't really cook the fish any further.

I've been wondering about the affinity of salt cod for both potatoes and chilis. The potatoes, I always assumed, because they stretch the flavor and soak up some of the salt. The chilis, though, add an entirely new dimension to the cod. The cod cakes that I made up-topic that included chilis--just some chopped roasted jalapenos--were the best I've ever eaten, the jalapenos not only added flavor but helped cut through a very rich mixture. I'm looking forward to exploring Caribbean recipes for salt cod--they all seem to use chilis, mostly scotch bonnet--ouch!


 


#67 LindaK

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 06:56 AM

Until now I had not seen any mention of salt cod in Mexican cooking, but Bayless says that it is a standard on Oaxacan Christmas menus.


Doing some morning reading with Diana Kennedy's The Art of Mexican Cooking. Sure enough, there was a recipe for Bacalao a la Vizcana--Dried Cod for Christmas Eve.

The filling recipe is pretty much the same as Bayless's (or vice versa!), with slightly more jalapenos and the addition of slivered almonds. She notes that it improves by being made ahead of time and can be frozen successfully. She also suggests using it as a filling for empanadas, which sounds really, really delicious.


 


#68 LindaK

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 07:01 AM

Arròs amb Capetes de Totero, from Catalan Cuisine by Coleman Andrews.

This recipe is all about the rice. It uses only a small amount of salt cod for flavor—6 ounces to about 2 cups of rice—and it’s cooked simply with a little tomato, chickpeas, lots of garlic and a pinch of saffron. The recipe name comes from the garnish of roasted red peppers, which represent bullfighters' capes.


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I was skeptical when I first read the recipe because the salt cod isn’t given the usual presoak, just a brief simmer before being added to the rice. The ingredient list finally tempted me but I was fully prepared to find this inedible. Nope. The rice and chickpeas effectively soak up the salt.

This is the salt cod version of tuna casserole. Total comfort food. It might not look very pretty but it's delicious.



DSCF0835.JPG


 


#69 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 08:33 AM

That looks plenty good to me! What kind of rice did you use?
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#70 LindaK

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 04:17 PM

Chris, I used a short-grain rice that I found in a spanish market near home. Okay but not great. I want to try it with the round-grain spanish rice that's used for paella. I didn't have any on hand, though Andrews says that you can substitute italian arborio. This dish is cooked like paella, on top of the stove, uncovered, not stirred during cooking. Because it really is about the rice, I think that seeking out a superior rice would be worth the effort.


 


#71 hansjoakim

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:40 AM

I've been cooking quite a bit with salt cod lately; today a delicious salt cod loin with lentils, salt pork and cauliflower.

salt_cod_lentils.jpg

#72 LindaK

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 03:48 PM

Hans, that looks beautiful. The combination of fish and lentils is one of my favorites. How did you cook the cod? My efforts to cook whole pieces of salt cod weren't always successful.

Thanks for bumping up this topic. Now that cool weather has arrived, I've been thinking about salt cod again, wondering where to start.


 


#73 Broken English

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 04:08 PM

I find salting your own cod produces a much better result, buying in the pre-salted cod like we used to do at a few places I've worked makes the end result a little too salty and fishy for me.

Salting for ten days, soaking in regular changes of water for three, then poaching in aromatic cream gives a result that is heavenly to me.

One of my favourite dishes (other than made into baccala then crumbed and fried) is using the flakes bound with white onion puree in a puff pastry tart, with a chorizo vinaigrette and some wild rocket.
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#74 LindaK

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 04:40 PM

Broken English, thanks for the poaching suggestion, I can imagine how that would mellow the flavor quite a bit. Though the fish probably breaks up somewhat while cooking, yes? Of course that's no problem if you plan on flaking it afterwards anyway.

That tart recipe is an inspired combination of flavors. I'd love to see a picture (hint).


 


#75 Broken English

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 04:51 PM

I only poach it until it's just cooked, so the breaking apart is minimal as long as you're careful. Still, if you're flaking it afterwards, it really doesn't matter, as you said. I tend not to serve it as a loin, just because with the Italian training I've had, it's most often flaked or made into baccala.

I find that garlic, thyme, black pepper and bay leaves in the cream adds a nice subtle flavour.

I'm no longer working in that place, I've just moved to Canada from Sydney for a while, and I have no equipment in my home kitchen, so it won't be happening any time soon, haha.

I do love using chorizo with fish though, so I will definately post a picture when I do it in the future.

Edited by Broken English, 18 September 2011 - 04:56 PM.

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#76 EatNopales

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:25 PM

Hi Linda... I had not seen this thread when you asked about the pics of dried fish I took at my local Mexican market:

Posted Image


The last I went back I asked around the market what people do with the Salt Cod... I should mention at this time that a disproportionate amount of Mexicans in Sonoma County come from either Eastern Michoacan (near the border with Mexico State) or from the Lower Mixteca in Oaxaca. Apparently, Salt Cod is a bit of specialty in that region of Michoacan because all the employees & customers overhearing were quick to tell me about their favorites... as best as I could I jotted down about half a dozen dishes I personally had never heard of:


Croquetas de Papa y Bacalao con Salsa de Molcajete (Potato & Salt Cod Croquettes served with a chunky, roasted tomato-jalapeno salsa)

Bunuelos de Bacalao (The name intrigued me a bit but after asking about the technique it sounds identical to the Croquettes but without the Tomato Sauce)

Bacalao en Petate (Salt Cod on a Sleeping Mat = Sliced Potatoes & Onions interlaced in a baking dish, then a thick Tomato-Ancho Sauce spooned over the, on top of that is the Salt Cod with some kind of bread crumb topping, everything baked off until the bread crumb mixture toasts)

Aporreado de Bacalao (Flaked Salt Cod in a similar sauce of Tomatoes, Chiles, Olives, White Wine... as with Bacalao a la Veracruzana, Bacalao a la Mexicana etc.,)

Caldo de Bacalao (Salt Cod & Potato Soup with Spicy Tomato Broth)

Bacalao Tamales (Similarly seasoned tomato paste applied to fish wrapped in Masa)

Bacalao en Hojaldra (Salt Cod in Pastry)

Bacalao en Frio (Salt Cod desalted, rehydrated then chilled served in layers with Mushrooms en Escabeche)

Garbanzos con Bacalao (Salt Cod & Chickpea Salad with Pureed Roasted Poblano, Olive Oil, Vinager & Garlic dressing)



I was struck by the number of potato dishes, and remembered how much potatoes this store sells.... I should note at this time that the natives of what is now the Eastern Michoacan highlands around Patzcuaro & Morelia etc., are a people known as the Purepecha whose Purhe language has puzzled linguists because it is closer to Andean languages than to Mesoamerican languages. The leading food historians of Mexico assert that potatoes were common in Mexico prior to the Spanish conquest of the Andes ... perhaps this puzzle pieces fit together.

#77 hansjoakim

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 10:00 PM

How did you cook the cod? My efforts to cook whole pieces of salt cod weren't always successful.


Thanks, Linda, and thanks also for starting this thread in the first place! I cooked the cod in a pan over medium heat until it started to get flaky and felt cooked through - say roughly 3 mins per side. I feel that thicker slices are easier to cook by browning them quickly in a pan before finishing off in a medium hot oven for 8 - 10 mins (again until it starts to look flaky on the sides).

I hope to see more of your own salt cod experiments soon, Linda :smile:

Thanks for the report, EatNopales! I found the pastry + salt cod combination interesting, and after googling "bacalao en hojaldre", found a blog post with a recipe that looks quite delicious: Bacalao en hojaldre con salsa de piquillos.

Edited by hansjoakim, 18 September 2011 - 10:06 PM.


#78 LindaK

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 04:42 AM

EatNopales, that's a really interesting and varied list. I'll do some research but in the meantime I hope you'll try some of them for us. The only salt cod recipe from Mexico I'd run across was the traditional Christmas recipe you mentioned in your blog, chiles rellenos de bacalao. I posted on them uptopic here, really delicious.

One thing I noticed in that and other recipes was how beautifully salt cod paired with chilis. Truly a magical combination. I should take Jenni's advice and learn more about Caribbean use of salt cod, which I imagine makes good use of habaneros.


 


#79 EatNopales

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 02:29 PM

EatNopales, on 19 September 2011 - 10:56 AM, said:
LindaK, on 19 September 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:
EatNopales, that's a really interesting and varied list. I'll do some research but in the meantime I hope you'll try some of them for us. The only salt cod recipe from Mexico I'd run across was the traditional Christmas recipe you mentioned in your blog, chiles rellenos de bacalao. I posted on them uptopic here, really delicious.

One thing I noticed in that and other recipes was how beautifully salt cod paired with chilis. Truly a magical combination. I should take Jenni's advice and learn more about Caribbean use of salt cod, which I imagine makes good use of habaneros.




Hi Linda, without getting to deep into the complexity of Mexico's socioeconomic webs, I do want to provide some context to the following statement.... Mexican cookbooks, whether they be authored by Diana Kennedy, Rick Bayless, Patricia Quintana or Monica Patino... tend to be a very superficial / poor source for interesting / deep / regional Mexican dishes. The culinary message to the outside world tends to be manipulated by people of Upper Middle Class & Wealthy background... not because of anything nefarious... just that they have the communication tools to dominate the discussions. When I read Diana Kennedy's books & she relates how she finds these various cooks there is always some very wealthy woman involved in making the connection. These connections are almost always the result of... Diana is introduced to someone who has a cook who happens to be from x placed and introduced her to a dish she wasn't familiar with.

The economic structure of Mexico is such that even Middle Class people can afford to hire help. My cousin Ibis, in his early 30's, is a public accountant in Aguascalientes he is making $3,500 USD a month.. not a whole lot of money but he owns a small townhome outright, they have a newish car, his wife stays at home, they don't own many widgets but they have a full time domestic employee who does all the cooking. This brings me to the fact that very few Middle & Upper Middle Class Mexicans actually know how to cook... some of Mexico's lauded "chefs" really just hire a crew of working class Mexicans to do all the cooking, the chef might have the business know how & might have some talent at plating & producing a stylish dining environment but they aren't strong, volume tested chefs who came up the ranks of the cutthroat restaurant world. I just saw an interview with Monica Patino where she talked about the culinary culture that predominated upper crust Mexico in the early 70's... chefs & ingredients were imported from France... she was part of the vanguard that "introduced" the Upper Middle Class & Wealthy of Mexico to Mexican cuisine... she literally did not know how to make tortillas when she started her first Mexican restaurant. We are now in the 4th decade of the Re-Mexicanization of cuisine in Mexico but you can see how everything on press, famous restaurant menus etc., is really based on the limited knowledge of a small number of these Upper Middle Class people who love what they are doing & are doing a good job but there are inherent limits.


With that context in mind... I want to mention the Mexican cooking magazines.... the working classes of Mexico generally don't buy cookbooks, definitely not hardbound, beautiful, coffee table type books that are the staple in the U.S. Instead they buy inexpensive, highly focused resources that range from a post card with a couple of recipes, to inexpensive magazines such as those by Editorial Mango that either focus on a dish genre (for example I own the issue "40 Chiles Rellenos" from the series Caprichos y Antojos... there are many series with names like Cocina Facial, Cocina Economica, Cocina Regional etc.,). The 40 Chiles Rellenos has 35 traditional, regional specialties & 5 original recipes... that is a common balance. These magazines, and the CONACULTA series covering rural areas etc., is where you find a more true representation of the bounty of Mexican cooking. $ for $ these magazines provide much more interesting, deep rooted, regional dishes than even the most lauded cookbooks around.








I pick up the Editorial Mango magazines at my local Mexican market, and vaguely remember seeing an issue on Bacalao... I looked up their website & sure enough 25 recipes with Bacalao & Romeritos (a native Mexican green that has a vague rosemary flavor & is in season at the same time that Bacalao consumption surges... Christmas through Easter)

Posted Image


Posted Image

Link to Editorial Mango cooking magazines

25 Bacalao & Romerito Dishes

Full Blown Traditional Mexican Christmas Dinner



A typical Christmas Eve dinner in Mexico City involves a first course of Bacalao & Romerito based Apps. Second course is some version of a baroque winter salad, Third course is baked pork loin or leg. Fourth course is Turkey. After that comes a fruit based salad. Lastly comes Bunuelos & Rompope (homemade rum laced eggnog). White Wine is served with the first course. Alcoholic punch with Salad, Pork & Turkey. Coffee spiked with Tequila, Rum or Moonshine is served afterwards.


BTW... dinner begins around 1:30AM (the time people typically get back from midnight church service) at ends at the crack of dawn. There is lots of music & dancing between courses... and bohemias (singing along to guitar accompaniment) after dessert.

Edited by EatNopales, 19 September 2011 - 02:33 PM.


#80 LindaK

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 05:09 AM

Happy fall everyone. It probably isn’t fair that salt cod feels out of place in the midst of summer vegetables. But now that cool weather is here I’ve been wondering where to start again. Then I had a fabulous bowl of clam chowder recently and all became clear. Chowder, that’s what I wanted.

Not so simple. I found few recipes or writings about salt cod in soups or chowders. Everyone seemed in agreement that the flavor was too dominant or not worthy compared to fresh fish or bivalves. Even New England chef Jasper White, in his meticulously researched book, 50 Chowders, says that he can’t “get excited about a chowder made only with salt cod.”

Then I stumbled across Garlic Soup with Bacalao. Thank you, Daniel Boulud.

Despite the list of ingredients—potatoes, onions, stock, cream—that looks like most other chowder recipes, this is a sophisticated dish. Fresh fennel, sauteed along with the onions, leeks, and garlic, adds an herbal note. Boulud has you infuse freshly crushed coriander seed in the mixture while it simmers, which is an inspired addition—its light citrus spice and aroma are a knockout with the salt cod. The soup is pureed so it’s smooth, not chunky. I topped my bowl with a few croutons spread with a simple parsley-garlic pesto.

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It’s best prepared a day ahead of time. I made it Sunday night and thought, good. I had it for dinner on Monday and thought, wow.

It’s hard to make a picture of white soup in a white bowl look interesting, but trust me, the flavor was swoon-worthy. Exotic brandade transformed into soup. Next time I’m going try a chunky version to see how that works.

I have a chowder lined up for the weekend. Stay tuned.


 


#81 LindaK

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 04:51 AM

I made a spontaneous batch of salt cod fritters last night. A couple of days ago I took some pre-soaked cod out of the freezer to make more chowder. That never happened. But the cod had defrosted and I didn’t want to waste it. In its salted state, it can sit around more or less indefinitely. Once soaked, I assumed I should treat it like fresh fish.

So I decided on a fritter experiment. Jasper White’s book, 50 Chowders, has a recipe for salt cod fritters that looks significantly different from those I’ve posted about previously. They all have some herb, onion, garlic, and egg binder, but this one has a much higher starch – salt cod ratio than the others.

For comparison, here are the author and main ingredients for three different fritter recipes:

New England--Jasper White: 8 oz salt cod—10 oz potato—1 cup flour
Catalan--Coleman Andrews: 16 oz salt cod—2 medium (roughly 10 oz) potatoes—1/3 cup flour
Portuguese--David Leite: 10 oz salt cod and 4 oz shrimp—16 oz potato—no flour

What a difference the flour makes. These fritters were more bread-like and the salt cod flavor much less pronounced. These are the fritters I grew up with, which are served as a side dish with chowders. They were light and tasty, but without question their flavor pales in comparison to those which use all or mostly potato and allow the distinctive flavor of the salt cod to shine. They’re good as a side, but if you’re serving them as tapas, you want the Catalan or Portuguese version.

Sorry Jasper! Sorry Mom!

No pics, the camera battery was dead. I will get to that chowder soon, and will ready the camera.


 


#82 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 06:17 AM

I also missed this topic the first time 'round. A mention should be made of Fanesca, which is, in my humble opinion, one of the best uses out there for Bacalao. It's a traditional Easter dish in Ecuador (and was a traditional pumpkin-harvest dish before the Spaniards came). Here's the recipe I use when I make Fanesca; I got it from my Abuela Fidelina, who is from Cuenca and who is an excellent cook. Fanesca is dependent on the Bacalao retaining some of its delicious saltiness.

Makes 50 plates, and takes about 4 hours on the day you're going to serve it (and about 2 hours the night before).

INGREDIENTS

500 g (1 lb) long grain white rice
10-12 L (2.5-3 gal) Whole Milk (3% minimum), no other
1 L (1/4 gal) Full-Fat Cream (35% minimum), no other
4 C Peanuts, shelled and husked
6 C Leeks, the white portion only, chopped finely
6 oz (12 TBSP) Butter, unsalted
3 TBSP Butter whipped with achiote (annatto)*
2 C Garlic, blendered with enough milk to make it a liquid
2 kg (4.4 lbs) Bacalao. White Bacalao is best.
Salt, black pepper, to taste
2 TSP Ground Cumin
4-6 TSP Oregano
2 TSP Ground Cinnamon
3 TSP Brown Sugar
6 C Squash meat, steamed until it is tender, and mashed (in Ecuador, a large squash similar to Acorn is used.)
4 C Pumpkin meat, steamed until it is tender, and mashed (in Ecuador, a large squash called Kobucha is used. It's called pumpkin, but it's not, really.)
6 C Lupines (Lupini beans), peeled
10 C White corn kernels, boiled until tender
6 C Green peas, steamed until bright green
6 C White cabbage, julienned and steamed
8 C Young fava beans, peeled and cooked
6 C Young strawberry or red beans, peeled and cooked
1 shot Sherry Brandy

METHOD - THE NIGHT BEFORE

1. Boil the peanuts in enough milk to cover them, until they become tender. Blender these with the liquid they were cooked in, and set this aside.
2. Soak the Bacalao in enough water to cover it.
3. Cook and peel all of the grains and legumes. Reserve the water in which the corn was boiled.
4. Steam the cabbage, squash, and pumpkin.
5. Cook the rice in milk and set aside.

METHOD - THE DAY OF

1. Boil the Bacalao in 1 L of milk. Drain and reserve the liquid.
2. Fry the leek and garlic in the butter and achiote butter until they glassify.
3. Add 1 C of the water in which the corn cooked, and boil until the garlic loses its metallic flavour.
4. Add the peanut liquid, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the rice and 2L of milk, and a bit of all of the spices.
6. Drain and cut the Bacalao into tiny pieces. Add the milk in which it was boiled to the pot.
7. Add the squash, pumpkin, and cabbage.
8. When it comes to a boil again, add the grains and legumes one by one in the following order: lupines, corn, beans, peas, favas.
9. Add the cream, the rest of the milk, and the rest of the seasonings.
10. Keep stirring as it boils. Don't scrape the bottom or sides of the pot - that is where the stuff that tastes bad is collecting. Don't put a lid on it either - just stand there and stir.

After about 3 and a half hours, the Fanesca is ready to eat. Serve it immediately.
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#83 LindaK

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 08:06 AM

PanCan, thanks for adding Fanesca to the list. I've never heard of it before, but I can easily imagine how well pumpkin and squash would work with salt cod. If I can find a scaled-down recipe, I'd love to try it. If you make it next Easter, I hope you'll come back and add a photo.

I'm curious about your instructions not to scrape the bottom or the sides of the pan as it cooks. What exactly is the "stuff that tastes bad" that you're avoiding? Doesn't it burn?

Meanwhile, back in Boston, last night’s snowstorm was an appropriate backdrop for a chowder featuring salt cod. I’m not sure what makes this a chowder vs. a fish stew, but whatever it’s called, it was delicious—but perhaps not to everyone’s taste.

I’ve mentioned local chef Jasper White’s cookbook, 50 Chowders, a couple of times now. Its primary focus is on shellfish and fish chowders, though not exclusively. It’s a great resource not only for recipes but for understanding the basic ingredients, especially shellfish stocks and broths—the key to good chowder.

There’s only one chowder in the book that uses salt cod—Azorean-Style Chowder. Its premise is a real departure from most other recipes with salt cod. Instead of trying to tame its flavor, Jasper matches it with other full-flavored ingredients—mussels, squid, and mackerel. You can substitute within those families (I used clams, not mussels), but the idea is to balance a variety of seafood flavors and textures. The broth uses the cooking liquid from the mussels (or in my case, clams) with white wine and tomatoes, onion, garlic, and bit of saffron and hot pepper. Simple but very, very good. Throw in some potatoes, add your seafood, and you’ve got a great chowder. I loved it, but recognize that not everyone likes such strong flavors. It made me pretty happy, though, even with snow falling outside in October.


DSCF0956.JPG


 


#84 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 08:52 AM

Basically, the stuff that accumulates on the sides of the pot is a combination of excess salt, casein, and lignins from the legumes. It's truly awful, and no, it doesn't burn. Fanesca is simmered on the lowest possible heat, and the constant motion of the liquid in the center of the pot tends to bleed off enough heat to keep the nastiness congealed without causing it to form charcoal lumps either...

And I suspect you can cut that recipe in 4 and still come out with the same result - I've never tried cutting it, myself. However, I will absolutely come back at Easter and post pictures of Fanesca.
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#85 LindaK

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 08:24 AM

A colleague at work told me that her grandmother used to make a fish pie using salt cod, greens, and sweet potatoes, spiced up with some scotch bonnet chilis and with creamed coconut in the sauce. It sounded good, and I've been meaning to make it for a while, but only recently saw the type of creamed coconut she told me to use (it's a solid block, not liquid). So I made it for lunch yesterday.

The cod and greens (I used spinach) are bound by a basic bechamel flavored with a bit of the creamed coconut and fresh cilantro:

DSCF0984.JPG

The sweet potatoes are mashed with some butter and a scant amount of finely minced habanero pepper. I love the flavor but I can only take so much of their heat. Topped off the filling with the potatoes, sprinkled with cilantro, and baked until bubbly:

DSCF0991.JPG

It was very tasty. I'm not completely sold on using the coconut in the sauce. I used very little so it wasn't overly sweet, but I think when I try it again I'll want to add some warm spices (nutmeg, allspice maybe) to balance it. But the creamy fish, greens, and chili-sweet potato combination is wonderful.


 


#86 janeer

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:54 PM

A colleague at work told me that her grandmother used to make a fish pie using salt cod, greens, and sweet potatoes, spiced up with some scotch bonnet chilis and with creamed coconut in the sauce. It sounded good, and I've been meaning to make it for a while, but only recently saw the type of creamed coconut she told me to use (it's a solid block, not liquid). So I made it for lunch yesterday.

Do you know the origins of this dish (your colleague's nationality)? Caribbean/Jamaican?

#87 LindaK

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:28 PM

Yes, she's Jamaican. Since I know very little about Caribbean food and it's been suggested here a few times, I asked her in the hope she'd have a cookbook to recommend. It turns out that she doesn't do much cooking herself. But when I mentioned salt cod, she had all sorts of fond memories of her grandmother's cooking with saltfish. This was the one dish she could describe in enough detail for me to figure out on my own.


 


#88 Mjx

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:37 AM

Has anyone else had any difficulty finding some form of salt cod where they live?

In Denmark, it had a long tradition (and is called klipfisk), but asking where to find it has so far drawn alarmed/amused looks, as though I'd shoved a heaping tablespoonful of hákarl the person's face, rather than asked a question (usually, an elaboration of its appalling smell, etc. follows).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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#89 LindaK

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 06:12 AM

Mjx, many people find the smell of salt cod to be...choose your adjective for stinky. Uptopic, Chris Amirault mentions that the skin is the worst offender. If you find salt cod with skin, do take it off before you cook it, it will help a lot.

File this latest installment under "why the hell didn't I think of this one myself?" Potato and Salt Cod Tortilla. I saw the recipe in David Tanis's A Platter of Figs and had to make it asap.


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Just lovely and simple as can be: sauteed potatoes and onions, salt cod, and eggs (I always add parsley, I like it). My only deviation from the recipe was that Tanis called for adding the soaked, shredded cod to the egg mixture without cooking it first. I was not confident that the gentle heat for cooking the torilla would fully cook the cod. Yes, I know he's the chef at Chez Panisse and I'm not. Nonetheless, I gave the cod a quick toss in the hot oil leftover from frying the potatoes and onions--and I mean quick, maybe 15 seconds. The end result was perfect: the cod was still moist when the tortilla was done.

Delicious.


 


#90 LindaK

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:24 PM

One can’t have too many recipes for salt cod fritters.

Here’s a new one: Acras—-Senegalese salt cod fritters. Rich, flavorful, and very delicious.

Unlike most fritter recipes, there are no potatoes here. The base is a thick béchamel enriched with egg yolks and flavored with curry powder and a bit of cayenne. Use it to bind cooked and flaked salt cod into a thick batter. I added a bit of parsley for pretty. Fry as usual. Here’s a batch, note the golden color from the curry powder:


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The combination of eggy base with sweet, warm spices and rich fish is addictive. This explains the blurry photo below. Guests loved them and had no patience for photos.


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Btw, the recipe comes from Michael Roberts, Parisian Home Cooking. He describes these fritters as being common at Paris outdoor markets, which often have stalls offering food from former French colonies. Another reason to get back to Paris so I can fact check this statement.

I did a bit of research and also found acras recipes from Martinique. They shared the same béchamel/egg base but they were flavored with scotch bonnet chili and green onion, not curry powder.