If I ever opened a restaurant I think I’d name it “Baccalà” just for fun. Calling someone a “Baccala as an Italian can be taken varies ways & not to kindly! As a kid it was always funny to hear. As an adult, I don’t want to be called one. 😉 A clean xample, if someone was driving slow, there would be no cussing, it would be simply “Look at this Baccala”. I know it wasn’t just my family that used the term towards random silly acts because I heard other Italians “yelling” it as well. Who came up with all those slang funnies anyways? As usual, translated it just doesn’t make me laugh “you’re a Cod Fish”..Naw..
Baccalà, Salt Fish, Bacalhau, Morue..Simple cured w/salt, dried, Cod Fish. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you sprouted from I can bet there’s a traditional way to prepare it. This is truly one of my favourite dishes regardless of the method. Really, you must be thinking, Cod Fish is one of her fave? It’s ugly and it stinks. No matter the amount of times you scrub your hands, you will stink! Add some garlic to that and you’ll be sure to fend off anyone.
Growing up I only knew the dish one way which is actually still my favourite. City Nonna bakes it almost Gratin style w/ raisins, walnuts, orange zest & well some other basic ingredients. Farm Nonna never cooked with it. Neither did my parents. It was always a Christmas Eve tradition and looking back I think I was its greatest fan. No one else was ever as excited. Later on as I branched out to portuguese cuisine I fell in love with their methods. Also similar to Gratin style but layered with sliced chorizo, boiled eggs/potatoes, peppers & a few more fun ingredients. Also of course snack style, “Pasteis de baccalhau’, which are a small croquettes mixed w/potatoes & deep-fried. I can’t say I’m particularly fond of the French method of cooking Morue except as a Brandade & well that needs to be wrapped in a puff pastry & baked for me to really love it!
Over the past years I’ve become accustomed to enjoy as I now know it as “salt fish” the Caribbean way. Sautéed with veggies and served with a johnny-cake for breakfast. Yes, with some hot pepper it’s the best breakfast. Every island has their own little twist/technique with it. Also of course the famous Accra. Deep fried fritters. How can you not love them?
Well I promise to post my versions of the mentioned dishes above in due time..which could possibly take me a year! 😉 Todays share will be Caribbean Style as I have some extra plans for the mixture.
To begin: I prepare a few days in advance for this dish. Rinse off the salt with cold water. Place in a bowl with cold water covering the fish entirely. cover & refrigerate. Next day drain water, re fill with water. 2nd day..do the same. I’ve gone to 3 days. Just makes for a less salty fish and allows you to control the salt. Also it allows the fish to rehydrated slowly into a plumper flesh. I’ve seen others re hydrate it the quick way by boiling the crap out of it and then fry it. I don’t enjoy that. It doesn’t remove all the salt & it makes the fish quite tough. Also I only use boneless, No tolerance for plucking bones out of anything.
This mixture can be used on its own in sandwiches, over pasta and most recently I used as a filling for homemade stuffed buns with the addition of raisins. Sweet and spicy!
Caribbean Salt Fish
450 gram boneless dried salted cod-fish
1 medium yellow onion – small dice
1 Red pepper – small dice
1 green pepper – small dice
1 fresh season pepper – small dice
1 scotch bonnet (or not)
fresh parsley – a lot of it!
sprig of fresh Thyme
1 clove fresh garlic – crushed
2 tsp Ketjap Manis (see below)
soak the cod fish in water per above overnight. next day, drain & add fresh water. do this for 3 days is best/..move on baby…
Place the salt fish in a pot of water, bring to a boil to allow the fish to poach for only about 2-3 minutes is needed.
Saute everything in a saucepan with olive oil (except salt fish & parsley) until tender…add poached salt fish..stir breaking up the fish until fully combined & cooked..Stir in chopped parsley
Done! Easy as that…
Buon Appetito 😉
my newest fav ingredient