Bakailao Frijitua Tomatearekin

Fried Salt Cod with Tomato

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • 6

    Raciones

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

  • About

FERDINAND MAGELLAN’S NAVIGATOR WAS A BASQUE CALLED JUAN SEBASTIÁN ELKANO, WHO FINISHED MAGELLAN’S VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD AFTER MAGELLAN WAS KILLED IN THE PHILIPPINES. THERE’S A STATUE OF ELKANO IN GETARIA, OVERLOOKING BOTH THE PELOTA (BASQUE HANDBALL) COURT AND THE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT NAMED AFTER HIM. IT’S NOT SURPRISING THAT THE BASQUES COULD SAIL AROUND THE WORLD: THEY HAD ALREADY BEEN FISHING FOR COD IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN SINCE BEFORE THE NORMAN INVASION OF ENGLAND AND HAD DEVELOPED A CURING INDUSTRY AND TRADE ROUTES AROUND THE MEDITERRANEAN BY THE 12TH CENTURY. AND PERHAPS FOR THIS REASON ALONE I CAN THANK THEM, BECAUSE DEEP-FRIED SALT COD IS AMAZING. THE SUCCULENT, TRANSLUCENT FLAKES OF FLESH ARE EMBRACED BY A THIN BATTER OF FLOUR, AND A SPRINKLING OF SALT ENHANCES THE JUICY SWEETNESS. THIS IS A RECIPE THAT EXTENDS THE FRIED SALT COD INTO A MEAL. AS SOON AS YOU HAVE A SAUCE YOU HAVE A MEAL BECAUSE BREAD WILL BE USED TO MOP UP THE JUICES, MAKING IT AN INEXPENSIVE WAY OF FEEDING A FAMILY.

Ingredients

  • 100 ml ( fl oz) olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 × 400 g (14 oz) tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) salt cod, soaked in cold water for 48 hours, changing the water four times
  • olive oil, for deep-frying
  • seasoned plain (all-purpose) flour, to coat
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until browned. Reduce the heat to medium-high, then add the garlic, bay leaves and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, reduce the heat to low-medium, then cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add 200 ml (7 fl oz) water and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the raw tomato flavour has cooked out of the mixture. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Blend in a food processor until very smooth, then return to the pan.

Drain the salt cod, then trim off the fins, skin, brown patches and bones. Cut the flesh into strips measuring about 2 × 8 cm (¾ × 3¼ inches) and pat dry with paper towel.

Fill a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan one-third full of oil and heat to 1190°C (375°F) or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 10 seconds. Dust the cod pieces in the flour and deep-fry in small batches for 2 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Warm the tomato purée over medium heat until heated through. Arrange the fried cod over the tomato purée, spoon a little of the sauce over the top, then scatter with the parsley and serve immediately.