Capilotade

Dried Cod Stewed in a Sweet Vermouth and Tomato Sauce

This is another dish traditionally served on Christmas Eve. Like the brandade and estockaficada, this should be served with a strong green salad (dandelion, arugula, watercress, or endive). Not the least of the joys of this dish is that it takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds dried cod
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached flour
  • ½ cup sweet red vermouth or Vin Cuit or good red wine
  • ½ cup chopped cornichons (see Gherkins) or ¼ cup capers
  • salt (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

Method

Soak the cod in a large bowl of water or in the sink for several hours or, if it is hard as wood, overnight (follow directions on the package). Change the water three or four times. Taste a piece to be sure it is not too salty; if it is, soak the fish for another hour or so. Drain and chop the cod into large pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry the pieces of cod for 3 minutes on each side. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and gently cook the onions over a low flame until they are soft. Stirring constantly, add the garlic and flour to the onions. Stir in the vermouth and gherkins or capers and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Put the cod back in the pot. Check for seasonings—you may want to add some salt and/or pepper and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve in a brightly colored shallow dish, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Variation

You may omit the flour and add the pulp of 3 chopped tomatoes to thicken the sauce.

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