Salted Cod or Bacalhau as it is known in Portugal is a major ingredient in the Portuguese diet. The legend goes that the Portuguese have 365 or more recipes for this dish-one for each day of the year.
This is not a Portuguese recipe as such, although there is one similar-Bacalhau a Gomes Sa. This is just my adaptation by playing around with flavours and the ingredients I had in my pantry.
Salt cod has been produced for at least 500 years, since the time of the European discoveries of the New World. Before refrigeration, there was a need to preserve the codfish; drying and salting are ancient techniques to preserve nutrients and the process makes the codfish tastier.The Portuguese tried to use this method of drying and salting on several varieties of fish from their waters, but the ideal fish came from much further north.
With the "discovery" of Newfoundland in 1497, they started fishing its cod-rich Grand Banks. Thus, bacalhau became a staple of the Portuguese cuisine, nicknamed Fiel amigo (faithful friend). This dish was popular in Portugal and other Catholic countries, because of the many days (Fridays, Lent, and other festivals) on which the Church forbade the eating of meat. Bacalhau dishes were eaten instead.
Ingredients:1 large portion of salted Cod cut in large chunks (soaked over night)-make sure you change the water frequently
4 whole Cloves of garlic and one chopped
1 cup of good quality Olive oil
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper diced
1 very large onion, sliced
2 large potatoes, thinly sliced
250 ml or more (to taste) of white wine
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of fresh parsley
Olives- if you have any. I didn't and wish I had!
Directions:Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 200 or medium heat.
Place sliced potatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds (until soft) and remove and dry.
Drizzle some olive oil in a large baking tray and place sliced potatoes on top, then sliced onions. Add Salt, pepper, a pinch of paprika and two cloves of garlic.
Drizzle with some more Olive Oil.
Place sliced peppers on top of these ingredients as well as the remaining garlic. Add salt pepper and a pinch of paprika.
Nestle the cod in between the vegetable mix. Drizzle with Olive oil and add white wine. Sprinkle with remaining paprika.
Place tray in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until its all cooked through.
Make sure to stir the mixture every once or twice so that all flavours get incorporated.
Sprinkle with parsley and add olives if you have them.
P.s: For Some strange reason, after pasting the Wikipedia Entry, everything I wrote afterwards came up underlined. Something to do with HMTL and don't know how to switch it off :(
For those of you who can only find Fresh cod-Here's Rick Stein's Portuguese Baked Cod Recipe