Italians call it baccalà. The Spanish, bacalao. In Portuguese, it's bacalhau. Salted cod is a fantastic ingredient to keep in your fridge. It keeps for months and can be stirred into scrambled eggs and fried potatoes to make this Portuguese specialty, bacalhau à la brás. This savory, rustic dish makes the perfect brunch, as it's served family-style in a big pan.
Oxmoor House MARCH 2014
1. Rinse fish with cold water; place, skin side up, in a shallow baking dish. Cover with water to 1/4 inch above fish. Cover and chill 24 hours, changing water 4 times.
2. Drain fish. Place fish in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or until fish begins to flake apart. Drain. Flake fish into bite-sized pieces with a fork.
3. While fish cooks, place potato sticks in a large bowl. Cover with cold water to 1 inch above potatoes; let stand 30 minutes to draw out starch. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of potatoes; cook 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove potatoes from pan; drain on paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Repeat procedure with remaining potatoes. Reduce heat to medium.
5. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, saffron, and garlic; sauté 6 to 8 minutes or until onion is golden brown. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and fish; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes; cook 2 minutes.
6. Combine eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Pour eggs over potato mixture, and cook 3 minutes or until eggs are soft-scrambled, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with olives and parsley.
Salted Cod Before refrigeration, salting cod helped preserve the fish. Lower-quality salted cod comes from thinner fillets and tends be so dried out that it lacks flavor. Look for salted cod that's about 1/2-inch thick, preferably from the loin section, and at least a little pliable. To remove the salt and rehydrate the fish, soak it in cold water for a day or two, changing the water three to four times a day (change the water more often if you soak the fish for less time).
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