November 27, 2013

Bacalao a la Vizcaina : Codfish with tomatoes, olives and chiles

Makes 12 first course servings

4 lbs. dried cod

12 c. milk

3 c. olive oil

2 whole heads garlic, separated and peeled

3 lg. white onions, peeled and finely chopped

3 lbs. tomatoes, roasted on a comal or dry griddle

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

1 lb. small, new potatoes, boiled and peeled

1½ c. pimento stuffed olives,

¼ to ½ c. pickled jalapeño or güero chiles, according to taste

Soak the cod overnight, changing the water 4 times. Squeeze out excess water and place the cod in a bowl with the milk. Soak in milk another 2 hours, squeeze out excess milk and remove the bones and skin from the fish. Shred it finely and set aside while the seasoning sauce is being made.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, add the onions and cook over medium low heat until they soften and begin to turn golden. Add half the garlic and continue to cook until it begins to get soft. Puree the roasted tomatoes and the remaining garlic in a blender, strain and add to the pot. Cover and cook over low heat until a thick sauce forms and all juice from the tomatoes has evaporated. The sauce should take at least an hour to caramelize properly.

Add the shredded fish, parsley, potatoes, olives and chiles with their pickling juice to taste, and simmer for another 30 minutes. Add salt judiciously if desired; this dish should not require much. Allow dish to stand before reheating and serving. It can be made a day ahead and refrigerated before reheating slowly.

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November 27, 2013