Salt cod has been very difficult for me to find, but for years I’ve been on a mission for find it because I have great memories of the ways my mother used to cook with it. We lived in Seattle for three years when I was growing up, and I’m guessing because of the abundance of cod in Puget Sound, that salt cod was more prevalent there as well.
As a child I remember loving the little wooden box that it came in – the top slid in and out and it was just so cute. Unfortunately, I could never quite get rid of the nasty fishy smell, so the cute box never remained in my possession for long…
For any of you not familiar with salt cod, it’s simply filets of cod that have been preserved in salt – a preservation technique from the old days. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever find it, but then miraculously found salt cod at a Whole Foods store! It still exists! And it was in the little wooden box that I remember! I hurriedly grabbed a couple like it was a popular children’s toy at Christmas, and excitedly brought the salt cod home to start planning recipes.
When you first open up the box and unwrap the cod, you won’t be very impressed with it at all.
What you have to do is soak it in cold water for at least two days, replenishing the water a couple of times a day. Otherwise, the cod will be too salty, and not in a good salty way.
After the two days are up, it’s time for one final rinse, then dry on paper towels, and choose a recipe. Recipes are easy to find, especially if you look into Portuguese recipes, in which case it’s called bacalao, or Italian recipes, which is baccalà. But I’ll post a few salt cod recipes, as well! Watch for future posts!
I lived in Portugal as a teenager and one of my most vivid memories is eating the local staple, bacalao a bras with my friends. I haven’t eaten it for +20 years now. You have encouraged me to go on a hunt for salted cod, which is hard to find in Scotland too – and reminded me of the good times I had in the Algarve. Thanks, look forward to your recipes, Tracey
Oh good!!! It’s taken me years to find it! Why is it so good???!!!!
I think because it’s so distinctive – nothing else is even reminiscent of it, and of course, like you, there is nostalgia – reminds me of good times with my friends! Tracey
of course you’re right!
I have loved every salt cod dish I have eaten, as a tourist in Italy and on the Iberian peninsula. I find that delicatessens in areas heavily populated by expat communities always have salt cod in stock, it’s worth having a look. I love it paired with potato as croquettes, or cooked in tomato.
I’ve never made salt cod croquettes, but I want to…..
I love saltfish too and haven’t yet found it in Africa:-(. Have you ever tried Jamaican codfish fritters? They’re to die for!
I don’t deep fry anything, but I think it’s about time that I do!
Like you, I’m not a fan of deep fried food — despite my southern roots:-). However, these fritters (with a tasty habanero chile mayonnaise dipping sauce) are well worth it!
Good evening “Mimi”…i have the Baccalà on my list this week…::) Hope well…but not fried…
Oh good! You’ll have to tell me how you cooked it!
Hi!! Thanks for letting me know where to find salt cod.. and this photo here helps me a lot as well. It’s a new ingredient for me! xx
It’s one from my childhood, and it will always be special to me. But, it’s really goooood!