Llana-Style Salt Cod

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

This essentially Catalan treatment is easy and quick to cook. The Catalans would, understandably, prefer a more complex interpretation. The cod is briefly home-salted, which adds to its succulence and texture. The contrasting colours of the grilled pepper strips make the dish look very pretty. It needs nothing with it, apart from some bread to mop up the juices. On reflection, culturally dissonant mashed potatoes would also be nice.


  • 550 g/ lb Home-salted Cod (cod cut from the thick end of the fillet)
  • 1 large or 2 small red sweet pepper(s)
  • 1 large or 2 small yellow sweet pepper(s)
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1 hot red chilli
  • 2 spring onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • large handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • small bunch of chives
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 glass (150 ml/¼ pt) of dry white wine
  • flour, for dusting
  • salt and pepper



Cut the cod into 4 pieces and put in cold running water until desalinated.

Cut the sweet peppers in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and pith and grill on a dry ridged grill pan, turning frequently, until blackened and blistered on the outside. Transfer to a bowl, cover and leave for 15 minutes, then peel and cut into 1 cm/½ in strips.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas5.

Blanch the tomatoes briefly in boiling water. Refresh in cold water, peel, deseed and dice. Split the chilli, deseed and cut across into thin strips. Trim the spring onions and slice into the finest julienne strips. Peel, smash and chop the garlic. Destalk the parsley and chop half of it. Chop the chives.

Drain the cod and dredge in lightly seasoned flour.


Brown the cod lightly on both sides in 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Transfer to a roasting dish in which the pieces will just fit in a single layer. Scatter the pepper strips over. Add the garlic, chilli, cinnamon, chives and bay leaf to the pan. Cook over a moderate heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, spring onions, sugar and wine. Bubble briskly until it thickens to a sauce-like consistency and pour over the cod. Spoon over the remaining olive oil and the chopped parsley. Bake for 15 minutes.


Scatter over the whole parsley leaves and serve immediately.

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