Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Salt Cod

The dried piece waiting to be cut

These two pieces will go a long way. As I'm making cod pot pies, I'm using the tail end and saving the larger pieces for meals where I want the pieces to be served intact.Covered with water and soaking in a bowl in the fridge for three days.

We don't eat much fish, save for special occasions. With the holidays coming up, I bought a large salt cod that can be cut into pieces and re-hydrated as needed. The boys want cod pot pies for Thursday, so I started soaking the pieces today.

The nice thing about salt cod is that it can be kept indefinitely at room temperature. I stick mine in the fridge anyway-just so I know where it is, but salted in the bag it doesn't take up much room at all. The smell seems less intense to me as well-more marine than fishy. I always think it smells like dulse when I pull it from the bag. As it re-hydrates, it can get a bit stinky, so keep a plate over the bowl as it sits. You'll want to re-hydrate it in the fridge.

Keep in mind that it will double in bulk as it re-hydrates, so a little salt cod goes a long way. I like to soak mine three days changing the water thrice daily. You can do less days with more water changes, and depending on what you have in mind, it may need more or less soaking-so check your recipe. I've found that three days is about right for using salt cod as a substitute for fresh in most recipes. Just remember not to add the salt called for in the recipe you are adapting (been there, done that). The fish will still be adequately salted.

So why use salt cod when freezers are available? That's a fair question. It isn't like we need this method of preservation anymore. I suppose it is much like eating beef jerky, or dried fruit. The end result has a different taste, born of necessity, but still enjoyable.

I'll try to remember to post photos over the next few days so you can see how it looks at various stages.


Raymond said...

ive been wondering what in the world to say to this salt cod topic not that i have ever used it but because salt cured fish hanging in the mexican groceries and when cooked by my filipino or chinese neighbors smells so good and so I guess pointing that out is my only point

sans punctuation a la archy and mehitabel

Goody said...

The stuff is pricey around here, but still cheaper than fresh cod. If you can buy it inexpensively, it might be worth experimenting with. It makes a really decent chowder ("chowdah").