NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

January 2, 2013

A salted fish produces a very savory dinner

If ever a food needed a brand overhaul, it is salt cod.

Because nothing about that name inspires cravings. It actually sounds like something you spread on an icy walkway to keep people from slipping. But salt cod actually has a rich history, especially in Portuguese and Spanish cuisines, which treat this simple ingredient with near reverence.

Salt cod is what it sounds like — cod fillets that have been preserved with salt. A lot of salt, in fact. So much so, the salt must be flushed from the fish before eating. This can be done several ways. The most basic is to rinse the cod under cool running water, then submerge it in a bowl of water and refrigerate for 12 hours.

The result is a tender, yet meaty fish that has a pleasantly solid texture (closer to a satisfying steak than to a fillet of fresh cod).

The flavor also is changed — savory and not overtly fishy. Though you will taste the salt, if the cod has been properly rinsed and soaked, it will not be too salty.

Once the cod is soaked, it can be patted dry with paper towels, cut into chunks, then simmered for 10 or so minutes. Your options after that are numerous. The cod often is broken into flakes, then used to make cod fritters, or added to chowder. Larger chunks of cooked salt cod also make a fine curry, as well as a filling for empanadas and pot pies.

Salt cod is widely available in the seafood section of most grocers. It often is sold in small wooden boxes. A 1-pound box will produce 1 1/2 pounds of cod after soaking.

One note about cooking — try not to boil it. It should be cooked at a gentle simmer. Boiling will toughen the fish.

SALT COD WITH ROASTED POTATOES

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Special Features