Called baccala in Italy, bacalao in Spain, and klippfisk in Scandinavia, salt cod has been a cooking staple in world cuisines for hundreds of years. Here in the United States, if you didn't grow up eating it, these stiff boards of dried fish can seem like an odd food to get passionate about. Read on for more details and recipes...
Salt cod is made by filleting freshly caught cod, salting it heavily, and then drying it. This preserves the fish, preventing it from spoiling for several years and allowing it to be transported over great distances. With the over fishing of the cod population, these days salt cod is often made with other white-fleshed fish.
For use in cooking, salt cod needs to be reconstituted and then, ironically, rinsed of as much salt as possible to make it palatable. Soak salt cod in a bowl of water for several days and change the water daily in order to expunge all the salt.
Salt cod can then be used as a main ingredient in soups or as a base for pasta or risotto. It can also be made into fritters or a spread for toast. Here are a few recipes we found from around the internet:
• Bunyols de Bacalla (Salt Cod Fritters) from BBC Food
• Baccala Salad from the Food Network
• Baccala Mantecato (Savory Whipped Salt Cod Spread) from MassRecipes.com
• Cod Cannelloni with Swiss Chard and Roasted Pepper from Epicurious
• Salt Cod and Clam Stew from Chow.com
Are you a fan of salt cod?
Related: Good Question: What is Halal Meat?
(Image: Flickr member Geoff Coupe licensed under Creative Commons)