Salt cod fish and Chorizo are popular features in the Portuguese and Spanish cuisine frequently using the same ingredients but in a different way. In this version, chickpeas play the sidekick instead of potatoes. Bacalhau, traditionally a codfish albeit other firm non-oily fish may be used, is cured by dry-salting it. It’s a very old and sustainable method to preserve fish. Mostly associated with the Portuguese cuisine it also has its place in Spain (bacalao), Southern France (morue salée) and Italy (baccalà).
Time: 45 minutes plus 24-48 hrs desalting in advance
- 1 3/4 lbs (800 g) desalted cod fish, cut into serving pieces
- 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cans (14 oz/400 g each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups (60 g) thinly sliced onions
- 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 large orange pepper, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 small broccoli head, cut into small florets
- 1 cup (140 g) sliced Spanish chorizo
- 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced for garnish
- 4 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish
Bacalhau is a fish, traditionally codfish, that is cured by dry-salting it. It’s a very old and sustainable method to preserve fish. Mostly associated with the Portuguese cuisine it also has its place in Spain (bacalao), Southern France (morue salée) and Italy (baccalà and stoccafisso).
Desalting bacalhau is absolutely necessary. How long you soak depends on the thickness of the cut and how dry it is. In my opinion it is best to soak it for at least 24 hours, may be 48 hours, changing the water 2 – 3 times a day. Supermarkets in Portugal often sell “bacalhau demolhado”, the already-soaked and desalted bacalhau. However its best to do a testrun first. Cook a small piece of cod in barely simmering water for 10 minutes and then let it cool. It should be mildly saline. Keep in mind that pan frying or roasting bacalhau, might cause residual salt to concentrate and render a saltier taste to the finished dish.
Heat enough water to cover in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the fish, reduce the heat and let it barely simmer for 10 minutes. Gently remove the fish from the water with a slotted spoon. Set aside on a plate. Taste for saltiness. Keep it warm. Add water to another saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the broccoli. Parboil broccoli for 3-5 minutes. Broccoli should remain “al dente”. It will cook further later on when added to the skillet with the remaining ingredients. Drain and set aside.
While codfish is simmering, heat olive oil to in skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, peppers and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. Remove and place them in a bowl. Keep warm. Using the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the sliced chorizo and the drained chickpeas. Cook until chickpeas are well coated with the Chorizo fat and soft, about 3-5 minutes. Chickpeas absorb a lot of liquid. If you prefer it a bit more saucy, add some stock or water to it. Remove the chorizos and chickpeas to the onion and peppers bowl. Leave any residual chorizo fat and bits in the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the salt cod and reduce the heat to medium. Pan-fry codfish until top and bottom sides are nicely browned and it is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove fish to a plate and keep it warm. Return the onion/pepper mix, chorizo, chickpeas and broccoli to the skillet. Give it a stir and place cod fish on top. Cover skillet and allow flavors to mingle over low heat for another 3-5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Be watchful though, the salt and chorizo spiciness maybe sufficient as seasoning for the whole dish. Arrange on warmed plates, garnish with egg slices and the parsley. Drizzle with some olive oil, if you like.