The many sides of Cod Fish

There is a saying in Portugal, that there are 365 ways to prepare cod fish, one for everyday of the year. I have not checked myself, but i'm pretty sure we could get there. With all the recipe and the variations from one region to an other, even from one family to an other, we should be able to make it to this number.

It's actually not that easy to find salted cod fish where I live. I think we make it a bit complicated just with the name: when fresh, the fish is called "cabillaud" but when salted, we call it "morue". Why that is, I have no idea. The portuguese go for "bacalhau" for the salted version, and "bacalhau fresco" when it is fresh, which makes so much more sense!

I don't think I'll ever make it to the 365 ways of cooking cod fish, but I like to try one out everynow and them. Apparently one of the most popular is "Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá", which made it to the final round of the portuguese "7 wonders of Gastronomy" that will be announced on the 10th of september 2011.

I have made the bacalhau à Gomes de Sá before, but browsing thru a book, I found a recipe that looked good to me, and which I had all the ingredients at hand: "Bacalhau a nossa moda", which means something like "cod fish our way". I don't know if it's any traditional, but I enjoyed it, and it allows me to travel a little during my holidays at home.

Cod Fish with Potatoes and Tomatoes "Bacalhau à nossa moda"

Serves 1

200gr of Cod Fish
1/2 of Milk
2 Onions
3 Tomatoes
4 Small Potatoes
2 Tablespoons of Flour
Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Parsley, chopped

If your cod fish is still salted, you have to put it in water for 24 hours, changing the water a few times. When it's done, take away the skin and all the pin bones you can, and put it in milk for 2 hours at least.

In the meantime, chop the onions and put them in a frying pan with a little bit of oil and salt, they should get soft and color a bit. Cut the tomatoes on big chunks and add them to the onions. Put a lid on and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until everything is well combined. When it's done, set aside.

Clean the potatoes and peal them. Put a pan of water on the heat, and when it boils, give in the potatoes. Depending on the size, cook them for about 5 to 10 minutes, drain them and set them aside.

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Take the cod fish out of the milk, dry it a little on kitchen paper and dip it into the flour, so it coats both sides. In a non-sticky frying pan, put a little oil and let it heat on a medium flame. When the oil is hot, put the fish in the pan and cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side to give it a golden colour.

In an oven dish, place a layer of onions cooked with the tomatoes, place the fish on top and the potatoes around it, give the rest of the onion mix on top and place it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle it with some coarse salt and freshly chopped parsley.

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