There’s a saying in Catalan that there’s a different method to cook cod for each day of the year. In the old days, the only way to eat fish for people not living near the sea was to salt it, because it had to travel a long way by donkey. This was why people found cod so special and invented numerous ways to cook and enjoy it. It’s part of our culture. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
Bacalao a la llauna, patatas con romero y romesco
- 800 gm salt cod, skin on, soaked overnight in cold water (changing water several times), drained
- 50 gm (1/3 cup) plain flour
- 50 ml olive oil
- 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes
- 6 garlic cloves
- ½ small onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 nyoras (see note)
- 520 ml olive oil, for frying
- 10 gm each blanched almonds and hazelnuts
- 2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
- 1 thick slice of soft white bread, crust on, diced
- 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 20 ml sherry vinegar
- 4 nicola potatoes, cut into 1cm slices
- 200 ml olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 1For romesco, preheat oven to 180C. Combine tomato, garlic, onion and nyoras in a roasting tray. Add 20ml olive oil, turn to coat, then roast until cooked (30-35 minutes). When cool, peel and remove seeds from tomato and nyoras, and peel garlic (discarding peel and seeds). Transfer to a food processor and set aside. Heat remaining olive oil in a deep-sided saucepan over medium heat, add almonds and hazelnuts and fry until golden (1-2 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper and transfer to food processor. Repeat with parsley, frying until just crisp (10-15 seconds). Repeat with bread, frying until golden (1-2 minutes). Process until smooth, then add extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar and process to combine. Season to taste and set aside.
- 2Meanwhile, for rosemary potatoes, reduce oven to 100C. Place potatoes on a roasting tray, pour over olive oil, add garlic and rosemary, season to taste, then cook until tender (20-30 minutes). Keep warm.
- 3Cut cod into 4 portions and dust with flour. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and shallow fry for 2-3 minutes each side. Add chilli, garlic and paprika, stir to combine, then deglaze with sherry vinegar. Remove from heat, season to taste and toss through parsley. Serve immediately with rosemary potatoes and romesco sauce.
Nyoras are a type of Catalan chilli that are in the early stages of cultivation in Australia. If unavailable, you can substitute with rehydrated dried nyoras, available from Spanish delicatessens, or 2 red capsicums.