[Sca-cooks] Salt cod (was: Newbee planning feast in winter)

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Fri Jun 19 15:47:00 PDT 2009

On Jun 19, 2009, at 5:27 PM, David Walddon wrote:

> What do you use for your recipe for salt cod?
> Does anyone have period directions on salting cod?
> What a great idea!
> Eduardo

I've developed a cheater's method that's pretty foolproof, that I  
originally used on some fresh cod fillet that I had in the fridge and  
intended to use within 24 hours, and then couldn't, for some reason...  
if that makes any sense.

It's a cheater's method because while it does produce lovely-tasting  
salt cod, I didn't achieve (or even especially try to achieve) a fully  
dehydrated product that would survive without refrigeration. I'm sure  
it's doable; I simply didn't bother.

On the other hand, I did achieve a cured product whose flavor and  
texture when cooked was definitely that of salt cod and not fresh cod,  
and it actually had a better color and aroma than much of the lower- 
quality salt cod (you know when it gets yellow?).

Basically I coated the fillets with an even, fairly heavy, dusting of  
non-iodized, Kosher salt. Not buried in salt, but completely covered  
on both sides, as if you took the fillets and pressed them down into a  
large pile of salt, on both sides, and whatever sticks to them when  
you lift them up is the right amount.

I laid the fillets on a folded square of several thicknesses of paper  
towel (proper drainage is a big, big issue in all sorts of food  
storage projects -- ask the guy who, in large part, sold leftovers at  
a premium for a living), and slipped them into a large Ziploc-type  
plastic bag, one large enough to spread the fish out in one layer.

This goes into the fridge for 2-3 days, by which time the salt will  
have dissolved in expressed fish juice, and drained into the paper  
towelling. If the towelling is obviously saturated, you can remove it,  
replace with fresh, and rewrap. At the end of that time, the fish will  
have achieved a firm, cured-ham-like texture. It could then presumably  
be further dried under the proper conditions, but I just wrapped it in  
plastic wrap and froze it.

I soaked it for a couple of hours only before using (just pinch off a  
bit and taste it; if it tastes good and not like a salt lick, you're  
good to go.)

Best Bacalao Viscaino I ever had ;-)...


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