Today I will be talking about a local fish dish, which will make two fish dishes in a row. I hope you like fish! I eat more and more fish, but then again there is a great choice available here in Spain and it is relatively cheap. My mother has been here with us for the last couple of weeks and she always comments on just how cheap fish, fruit and vegetables are here compared to England.
I have to agree with her, but must admit to never really having understood why. Even taking any cost of living variances into account the cost difference is astounding. England is after all a green island, with good land for growing crops and waters teeming with fish! Although I am not sure why some foodstuffs are so expensive, I can’t help thinking that one of the solutions is to buy locally, supporting the local community and avoiding so many intermediary steps between the producers and the end consumers. Intermediary steps that increase the cost without providing any real value. Local produce of course should also be fresher and have a lower environmental impact.
I have noticed recently that one of the shops we frequent in Zaragoza, Koralium in Calle San Miguel, apart from price and country of origin, also puts the distance the product has travelled on the labels on the shelves. Apart from helping consumers decide which products to purchase, it helps to remind us all of the distance some of these products have travelled. I can’t help thinking this should be standard on all product labelling!
So back to the recipe. Traditionally this recipe uses salted cod, although you can use fresh too. Spain is not actually an island although it is a peninsula and as such it is only connected to the rest of Europe via the Pyrenees. It is therefore almost surrounded by seas and the people here eat lots of fish. Spain is a hot country though, particularly in summer, and the towns of the interior can be many hundreds of miles from the nearest sea. It was not uncommon therefore for the fish to be dried and salted, to better preserve it, before being sent via ungulate transport to the interior. As this is a traditional recipe I will be using the traditional salted fish.
Dried fish here can be bought as nice large pieces or as smaller offcuts. This recipe is perfect for using these smaller AND cheaper pieces. The trick with using salted fish is to soak it in water to remove the salt. Once you get the hang of this the idea is to remove enough so that the fish is correctly seasoned. I would recommend that if in doubt you soak your fish too long, as you can alway add in more salt when cooking if you feel it is lacking.
One last note on de-salting fish. The smaller the pieces used the quicker they will lose their saltiness. A number of small offcuts will take far less time than a nice large piece.
Bacalao al Ajoarriero
2 Garlic cloves
De-salt the cod by soaking in water for 36 hours changing the water every 12 hours, i.e. thrice.
Peel then slice the potatoes thinly with a mandolin. Fry them in abundant oil for about 10 minutes..
Meanwhile cut the onion in julienne. Add to the potatoes after the first ten minutes.
Continue to fry until the potatoes and onion are just about cooked.
Remove most of the olive oil. (Reserve for a future use)
Slice then add the garlic. Give it a couple of minutes then add in the cod.
Fry the cod until it is done. It should only take about 5 minutes. If the cod has released a lot of water drain off. The pan should be fairly dry.
Taste the potato cod mixture to check the seasoning.
Meanwhile beat the eggs with enough salt to season the dish.
Add the eggs into the pan and fry briefly to just set the eggs. Do not over fry as the eggs will become dry and rubbery. If the pan is very hot it can even be removed from the stove and the eggs cooked with the residual heat.
The dish can be served with or on toasted bread.
Yet another article has come to an end……. the number of recipes on the blog is slowly growing and I am seeing this reflected in the number of articles viewed on a weekly basis. It is good to know that some of you at least are delving into other recipes and not just reading the one that they accessed initially. So, if this is your first time here, I would encourage you to have a look around and see what else might interest you!
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge