First off let me begin by explaining that I have taken a huge liberty with this recipe.NO. SALTED. COD.
Before you proceed to bite my head off let me be clear that is because of my utmost love for bacalao that I cannot bring myself to purchase the sorry excuse of bacalao that is sold in little wooden markets in the supermarkets near me.
Because I have been ruined.
By these beauties in the mercados of Spain and Portugal. These incredible pieces of salted cod are pricy and well worth every cent. They simply melt in your mouth after the soaking in water ritual and are cooked in a variety of ways.
I've never tasted anything like this so it's impossible for me to go from these lovelies to the 'fish leather' sold here in the U.S.
Hence, the fresh cod. It works, it is reminiscent of the texture and flavor of the cod I've lovingly devoured during my travels down the Iberian Peninsula and it allows all of us to enjoy this lovely warm weather salad that will have you pining for more.
There are many variations and like all great recipes passed down from our grandmothers this too has several versions depending on whom you're talking to. But the foundations remain the same - cooked chickpeas, fish, parsley, fresh luscious sweet tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions and a lovely dressing with some sour, some sweet and a pinch of heat.
Let's do this!
Cod & Chickpea Salad from Portugal
Shopping list / Serves 4-6
1 lb. cod
1 tsp whole black pepper corns
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tsp. salt to cook the cod
2 cans of chickpeas
1 cup cherry tomatoes
fresh parsley, to yield 1/3 cup chopped
fresh cilantro, to yield 1/3 cup chopped
Spanish red onion, to yield 1/3 cup very thinly sliced
4-6 boiled eggs
1/3 cup kalamata or black olives
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp. of salt 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
½ tbsp. honey 1 tsp. harissa chili paste or piri piri
Cod: In a sauté pan, place the cod, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt. Cover completely with water – ½” above the level of the cod.
To hard boil eggs, cover the eggs with tap water and set on high heat. Set the timer at 15 minutes and as soon as the eggs boil, reduce the heat to medium-low.
Once the timer goes off. Remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid.
Set the timer at 10 minutes. Set a ice bath in a large mixing bowl. As soon as the timer goes off, drain away the hot water and keep running under cold tap water until the water in the pot is no longer hot. Drop the eggs in the ice bath.
Set the timer at 5 minutes. Immediately peel the eggs. Halve and set aside.
Garlic: Peel, discard skin and crush cloves. Set aside.
Parsley: Discard the stalks. Finely chop and set aside.
Cilantro: Discard the stalks. Finely chop and set aside.
Red onion: Peel, cut off woody top and quarter. Slice very thin and set aside.
Tomatoes: Halve and set aside.
Chickpeas: Drain and set aside.
Dressing: Combine all the ingredients and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Whisk again before using.
In a medium sauce pan, place the cod and cover with water. Bring to a heavy simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Flake and set aside, discarding any skin or bones.
In a medium-sized mixing or salad bowl, add the cod, drained chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion, olives, parsley & cilantro. Gently combine.
Add the dressing and gently toss to thoroughly coat the salad with the dressing.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Top with quartered boiled eggs on individual plates.
Finish with some lashings of good quality olive oil before serving.