Bacalhau is brill. Well it´s not actually, brill is a flat turbot like fish and bacalhau is salted cod.
But it is great. And a codpiece is a pouch attached to the front of a gentleman’s´ trousers to accentuate his
For a starter this weekend I´m planning to stuff roasted courgettes with a filling of salt cod,
garlic and olive oil, beaten to a creamy puree and gratinated under the grill. Depending on the result,
I may post the recipe.
Generally, if I´m cooking for guests at the quinta on a Monday I tend to use meat as the available
fresh fish can be a little iffy and well, less than fresh. Or otherwise I reach for the bacalhau, as was the case last week.
Outside the kitchen window and attaining triffid like proportions we have a basil plant, the inspiration,
if you can call it that, for that evenings´ main course. I may have thought twice about the choice to
cook risotto had I been aware that Italians were amongst the diners.
Happily they were charming and declared the meal to be ´meraviglioso´, which I later understood to mean wonderful.
By the way, guests who enjoy a meal and compliment the food are often surprised to learn that I am
English, believing, I suppose, that we hail from an island of gastronomical ignorants, unwilling to look to
culinary cultures further afield , say Europe. Preferring rather, to pull up the drawbridge,
don the blinkers and eat hula-hoops! Beats me how these stereotypical ideas are born.
Everyone knows how to make risotto, so I won´t go into too much detail other than to say that this
one was finished with blanched peas, half of which I pureed with butter beforehand, and blanched French beans.
I also added mint, Parmesan and some grated lemon zest, just before serving.
All in all a fresh, creamy risotto and although purists may object to it being served alongside anything other
than a glass of Orvieto, it was a fitting companion to the bacalhau.
Here is the recipe for the cod and if I receive more than my usual 5 facebook ´likes´ I may set down
the risotto recipe in full.
3 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and diced
Couple of garlic cloves, finely chopped
Handful of small black olives, pitted
Dash of red wine vinegar
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
4 pieces of salt cod loin (approx 200g each), de-brined or otherwise frozen salt cod, de-frosted
Handful of basil leaves, finely sliced at the last moment
- Make the dressing by combining the tomatoes, garlic, olives, a dash of vinegar and the olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Dry the cod as well as possible by pressing the pieces between kitchen paper or a tea-towel.
- In a non-stick frying pan heat a couple of tbsp of olive oil over a high flame. Get it good and hot before frying the cod, flesh side down. It will want to stick so nudge the pieces around the pan a little. After a couple of minutes it should have browned a touch so, remove from the pan and place in an oven dish into which the pieces snugly fit.
- Pour over the dressing and bake for approx 10 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Serve with the dressing and the sliced basil.