|Bacalao a la Vizcaina|
Bacalao a la Vizcaina has its roots in the Basque region of Spain. Accordingly, I recommend making it with Spanish olive oil and a mild smoked paprika from Spain ("pimentón"). But you can certainly use other olive oils or paprika. Salt cod usually can be found in tiendas and grocery stores catering to the Latin American community. I was able to find it in the frozen seafood section of my local Whole Foods store. This "gourmet" salt cod was less salty and less "fishy" than that which I've found in Latino markets, where it is much more heavily salted and drier in texture, and not sold refrigerated or frozen.
|Salt cod, soaked & simmered|
To prep the salted codfish for this recipe, you will need to soak it for at least 24 hours before you plan on cooking it, changing the water a few times during the soak. I always soak it in the refrigerator, but many recipes say one can soak it safely without refrigeration--after all, salting is an age-old way of preserving fish. Try to buy boneless salted cod, as that will save you a LOT of time (otherwise, you'll have to manually pick out all the bones before making this recipe).
Traditionally, Bacalao a la Vizcaina is served topped with a few fried rounds of Cuban or French bread, but my Mom never did this. Instead, she served her bacalao over cooked white rice, which is also an authentic way to serve the dish, and my preferred way to eat it. My recipe makes 4 to 6 hearty servings.
1 lb boneless salt cod, soaked as described above
1 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds (I leave them unpeeled)
1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
3 garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil plus a little more for the saucepan
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup water (preferably from the water used to simmer the cod)
1 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 cups canned diced or crushed tomatoes (I use fire-roasted tomatoes)
3/4 cup (or 6oz jar, undrained) diced roasted red peppers ("pimientos morrones")
1/2 Tbs Pimentón (mild smoked Spanish paprika) or other paprika
Black pepper to taste: I use several grinds from my pepper mill
2 whole roasted red peppers, sliced into thin long strips (for garnish)
|Sauce for bacalao|
While the cod is simmering, prepare the sauce by combining the garlic, 1/3 cup oil, wine, vinegar, tomatoes, diced roasted peppers, paprika and black pepper in a food processor or blender. When the cod has finished simmering, add the reserved water to the food processor or blender. Cover and pulse a few times to slightly puree, stopping before the sauce gets smooth.
|Cuban Salt Cod with Potatoes, Onions & Roasted Peppers|
PS: If fresh fish is more your taste, you can order it from our partner The Crab Place.