Baked Salt Cod
Having soaked the last remains of frozen salted cod I had from my last trip to Portugal in cold water, I decided to make this semi-traditional in and delicious recipe. Again very simple but rich in flavour.
Salted Cod or Bacalhau as it is known in Portugal is a major ingredient in the Portuguese diet. The legend goes that the Portuguese have 365 or more recipes for this dish-one for each day of the year.
This is not a Portuguese recipe as such, although there is one similar-Bacalhau a Gomes Sa. This is just my adaptation by playing around with flavours and the ingredients I had in my pantry.
Salt cod has been produced for at least 500 years, since the time of the European discoveries of the New World. Before refrigeration, there was a need to preserve the codfish; drying and salting are ancient techniques to preserve nutrients and the process makes the codfish tastier.The Portuguese tried to use this method of drying and salting on several varieties of fish from their waters, but the ideal fish came from much further north.
With the "discovery" of Newfoundland in 1497, they started fishing its cod-rich Grand Banks. Thus, bacalhau became a staple of the Portuguese cuisine, nicknamed Fiel amigo (faithful friend). This dish was popular in Portugal and other Catholic countries, because of the many days (Fridays, Lent, and other festivals) on which the Church forbade the eating of meat. Bacalhau dishes were eaten instead.