Friday, December 24, 2010

RECIPE - Christmas Eve Salt Cod (Bacalhau da Consoada)

This recipe, which clearly points to a Portuguese origin, is the kind of salt cod (bacalhau) dish one is likely to find served at a Brazilian Christmas Eve feast, late at night on December 24th.

Harking back to the prohibition of eating meat on December 24th, salt cod has a long association with Christmas Eve in Brazil. But today most Brazilians don't eat the fish on this day because they've been told to do so by the Church. It's because for most of them, salt cod is traditionally linked to Christmas Eve, and it's quite unthinkable not to have at least one dish featuring this preserved fish on the buffet table.

Normally, Christmas Eve salt cod is a relatively unfancy dish, highlighting the taste and texture of the de-salted and reconstituted cod. This recipe is typical, and typically delicious.

RECIPE - Christmas Eve Salt Cod (Bacalhau da Consoada)
Serves 4

4 pieces, good quality, center-cut salt cod fillets
2 lbs. boiling potatoes
1 lb. kale
4 fresh eggs
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. extravirgin olive oil
salt and wine vinegar to taste
The day before serving, soak the fish in cold water in the refrigerator, changing the water and rinsing the fish several times, for at least 24 hours. Drain and reserve.

Peel the potatoes and halve or quarter them depending on size. Trim the kale leaves, removing the stems, but keeping them whole.

Fill two large saucepans with water and bring both to the boil. In one pan place the eggs and half the fish. In the other place the kale and the other half of the fish. Reduce heat and simmer both pans for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the fish is just tender and beginning to flake.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the chopped garlic and cook until the garlic is lightly browned. Remove from heat, add wine vingar to taste. Pour into a sauce bowl, whisk to combine thoroughly, and keep warm.

Using a stainer or large spoon, remove the eggs, potatoes, kale and cod from the pans of boiling water. Peel and halve the eggs. Drain everything else thoroughly, then arrange everything nicely on a large serving platter. Serve immediately with the garlic-vinegar sauce on the side.

Recipe translated and adapted from 1001 Receitas de Bacalhau.

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