Salted Cod (Bacalhau) in Tomato Sauce with Capers

Andrea
12 Feb, 2021
Salsify Pasta with Creamy Leek Sauce

Salted Cod – Salt Cod – Saltfish – Bacalhau – Baccalà

The oldest preservation method of the food is the drying. Salt cod was already produced by the Vikings 1000 years ago. Dried and salted cod has been produced for over 500 years in Newfoundland, Iceland and in Norway. In the age of the great discoveries, the cod had become extremely important in the international trade between the Old World and the New World. It spread around the Atlantic Ocean and became a traditional ingredient in Mediterranean, West African, Caribbean and Brazilian cuisine also. One of the traditional dishes of Portuguese cuisine is the Bacalhau à Bràs, which is widespread in the Caribbean. Do not miss Kyara’s super delicious recipe of Bacalhau à Gomes de Sa.
My recipe is a version of the Italian Baccalà alla Vesuviana.

Salsify Pasta

Drying of the Cod

Salted cod was dried by the wind and sun. They hung on wooden stands or lay on clean rocks close to the seaside. It was a very simple and cheap method and fishermen could do it themselves. At that time, they could not transport fresh fish to distant places, like today. Transporting salt fish was very easy. They did not have to worry about rotten, because salted fish could be stored for years.

Drying has another very important benefit, it preserves a lot of nutrients. Nowadays the fish is mainly dried indoors with electric heating.

Soaking Before Cooking

Salted fish must always be soaked in water for at least one day before consumption. This is the most important step before cooking, because it needs to be rehydrated and desalinated. Never skip soaking, otherwise your food is landing in the trash.

Tip!

Soak salt fish in cold water for at least one day and change the water two to three times a day.

Salted Cod (Bacalhau) in Tomato Sauce with Capers

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Soaking Time1 d
Total Time1 d 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 400 gram salted cod skinless and boneless
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 gram canned chopped tomatoes in tomato juice organic and sun ripened
  • 3 tbsp capers in water (not salted) drained
  • 3 tbsp parsley roughly cut
  • 3 tbsp mint roughly cut
  • ¾ tsp chilli flakes optional

Instructions

  • Put salted fish in a big bowl, cover with cold water, refrigerate and soak for 24 hours. Change the water two to three times a day.
  • Heat olive oil in a deep sauté pan. Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Do not burn it!
  • Add tomatoes, 2 tbsp drained capers and chilli flakes (if you like a bit hot). Bring to simmer.
  • Meanwhile cut cod to 5 cm pieces.
  • Add 2 tbsp parsley and 2 tbsp mint to tomato sauce.
  • Add cod pieces and cover with some sauce.
  • Simmer for 5-6 minutes, until cod is tender. Do not overcook because the fish will fall apart.
  • Taste it and season with salt if it is necessary. I did not add more salt because cod was still salty enough after the soaking.
  • Sprinkle with 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tbsp mint and 1 tbsp capers then serve with fresh bread. Enjoy!