This is a traditional Puerto Rican dish, marinated salted codfish.
Ingredients and utensils you’ll need:
2 lbs dried salted codfish (bacalao)
a glass covered dish (I use an old Pyrex oval covered dish).
1 cup flour
1 gallon-size zip-loc bag
a large frying pan
2 large onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs pepercorns
2 bay leaves
2 tbs capers
1 cup of large green olives stuffed with pimentos
1/2 cup of wine vinegar
Rinse 2 lbs of salted bacalao (dried salted codfish), and place in a glass dish. Fill the dish with enough water to cover the fish. Cover.
If you’re working ahead of time you can leave it soaking in the refrigerator overnight. Otherwise, drain and replace the water once every hour for at least 4 hours.
(I do not advise soaking the fish in milk to drain the salt.)
After 4 hours, remove the fish from the water, rinse again, and dry with a paper towel. Cut in 2″ long pieces.
In a gallon-size zip-loc bag, pour 1 cup of flour. Place the pieces of fish one at a time in the bag, zip, and shake to cover with flour. Place on a plate.
Slice 2 large onions, and peel 6 cloves of garlic. Leave the garlic cloves intact.
On a large frying pan, pour 2 cups of the best quality extra-virgin olive oil you can afford, and heat on a medium flame. Add the fish, turn the fish over after 4 minutes, and add the onions, the bay leaves, pepercorns, and the garlic. Lower the flame to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the capers and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove from the flame, and let it cool for 20 minutes.
After it’s cooled for 20 minutes, place the fish on the bottom of a large glass caserole, add the onions, and the olives. Pour 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar and then add all the oil and everything that remained from the frying pan. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Marinade for at least 3 hours before serving. The longer it marinades the better it’ll taste. Preferrably, let it marinade overnight.
Serve at room temperature over freshly-boiled yuca (you can buy it frozen), or if you can’t find any, cooked white rice. Make sure to remove the garlic and bay leaves before serving. Serves six.
A couple of things to bear in mind:
Since it takes such a long preparation time, I only make this a couple of times a year. As I’ve said before, I’m all for a simple menu.
The better the quality of the ingredients, the better it’ll taste. Make sure to get the best extra-virgin olive oil, capers, olives, and bay leaf.
Purists prefer Betis brand olive oil, but I like extra-virgin olive oil.
Traditionally you’d use a cast-iron frying pan, but I prefer my Emerilware Stainless 12-Inch Fry Pan that can be placed in the dishwasher.
If you like it zippier, add more vinegar. I prefer a milder taste.
The reason for using a glass dish is that you must use a non-reactive non-porous material to marinade the fish.
Open a window a bit, and wash down the kitchen surfaces after you’re through cooking because the cooking smells will linger.
In other cooking news, down in Miami this year’s ManCamp was more eventful than usual: both Steve and Val got injured.
Back in NJ, after all this eating I’m heading to the gym right now. Will post more later.