🇪🇸 En español: Bacalao navideño español con tomates, alcaparras y aceitunas
Sauté your bacalao with tomatoes capers olives before roasting it in the oven until the tomatoes start to burst. If you’re looking for a Christmas dish with a difference that’s healthy without sacrificing flavour, this salted cod recipe is for you.
This is One of Our Spanish Style Food For Christmas Recipes in Grandads Cookbook …
Gran Canarian Fish
We have returned from one of our regular visits to see friends in Gran Canaria and during the trip, I decided that I was going to be a temporary pescatarian.
This wasn’t a moral decision, I am definitely a carnivore and like a properly cooked rib-eye steak as much as the next meat eater. It’s just that the fish served in the island restaurants is just so good.
In my opinion, the best fish dishes in Gran Canaria are made using either freshly caught sole or salted and dried Atlantic cod.
The sole meuniere at Restaurante Churrasco in Puerto Rico was truly wonderful, so good in fact I had it twice. Indulgent I know, but it was a tough choice between the meuniere or the Waleska. Don’t worry, I had the Waleska the next day.
Bacalao (Salt Cod)
Salt cod or bacalao in Spanish (bacalhau in Portuguese) is widely used in cooking all over the Iberian peninsula. Often cited as Portugal’s national dish it can be cooked in so many different ways.
Bacalao has a fascinating history going back to medieval times and I found an excellent article on historytoday.com telling us all about the catching, curing and exploitation of this important food source.
The Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) – from which virtually all salt cod is made – is a remarkable beast. Measuring up to 1.2m long and weighing as much as 40kg, it roams the icy waters of the North Atlantic, from Cape Hatteras to Greenland and from Iceland to the Barents Sea, with an almost aristocratic assurance. Like the haddock, it is perfect for human consumption. Its white flesh is dense, flaky and low in fat; its bones are easy to separate; and, while it is most often caught using nets, it can be landed with nothing more than a baited line.
Preparation for Cooking
After being rehydrated by soaking in changes of water for between 24 to 72 hours, salt cod is then cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, frying, or braising.
You can find a fuller guide to desalting and rehydrating bacalao in this article.
Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..
Spanish bacalao with tomato capers and olives is very healthy. You can make the tomato sauce as mild or hot as you like, just use more or fewer pepper flakes. I like to serve mine either with rice or saute potatoes.
You can use fresh cod steaks instead of salt cod if you don’t want to do the rehydration. But I wouldn’t recommend using frozen fish. It tends to break up when cooked and can go soggy and there is something about the saltiness of bacalao which goes so well with the olives and tomatoes.
Spanish Christmas Bacalao with Tomatoes Capers and Olives
- 1 kg center-cut skinless boneless salt cod bacalao, prepared
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 jar capers drained
- 4 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 800 g chopped Tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 baby plum tomatoes
- ½ pound Calamata Olives pitted
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 bunch fresh basil chopped
- Prepare and soak your bacalao at least 3 days in advance.
- Preheat oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/375˚F.
- In a cast iron or oven-safe skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until hot, but not smoking.
- Add onion and sauté until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add red pepper flakes, capers, chopped tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add cod, olives, tomatoes, juice from lemon halves and the lemon.
- Transfer to the oven and roast until fish becomes brown and tomatoes start to blister, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve.