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

Philip Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Sat Jun 20 07:48:48 PDT 2009

On Jun 20, 2009, at 10:12 AM, Jennifer Carlson wrote:

> I found a recipe on the web by googling "making salt cod" and  
> picking the one that looked the least complicated.
> Coat the fillets on all sides with kosher salt, as if you were  
> breading them.  I put a poultry roasting rack in a baking dish and  
> laid the fillets on the rack, then  covered the assembly with  
> plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator.  The fillets give up  
> their water fairly quickly.  I let them stay in the fridge for a few  
> days, pouring off the liquid each day and resalting them if they  
> needed it.  Then I put them in freezer bags and tucked them in the  
> freezer.

It sounds like the main difference between this method and the one I  
posted is in how proper drainage is achieved, and apart from my  
recurrent semi-obsession with proper drainage in stored foods in  
general, there seems to be no lactic fermentation in salt cod -- it is  
salted but not pickled, as opposed to, say, gravlax, which can acquire  
a lactic tang after a prolonged curing process.

> Like Adamantius, I didn't get them to dry out completely, but  
> they're quite satisfactory.

Yes, I agree on that (no surprise there, I expect). While this seems  
like a simple, and almost random, combination of  cod and salt, which  
would sort of beg the question, okay, what are we not being told here,  
the fact is that apart from the basic combination of ingredients,  
there are fundamental changes in texture and flavor which makes the  
product salt cod and not simply cod with salt on it... and those  
changes do occur, so it appears the method does work.

And if one wanted to dry the cod further, it wouldn't be too hard, I'm  
sure, given the right weather or other artificially established  
conditions. I gather modern salt cod is finished in an electric kiln,  
at a very low temperature, a lot of the time. You could probably use  
your oven, if careful, in much the same way jerky can be dried. I've  
always been tempted to hang stuff near the fan in a walk-in fridge,  


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