For centuries, cod was one of the few fish consumed in the interior of Spain, where the genus from the coast did not arrive in good condition. Its ancient process of preservation in salting, An invention that dates back to the 10th century AD, it allowed us to enjoy fish all year round, although it was most consumed during Lent and Easter, as a substitute for meat, which the Catholic religion did not allow to eat on these dates.
Although salted cod is the same all year round, and there are already very few who keep the Lenten abstinence, the tradition of cooking this fish when Easter arrives has been maintained over time. In recent years, we can also find in our fishmonger fresh cod, whose season runs from January to April, which opens a whole range of new recipes that, little by little, are being incorporated into our kitchens.
In this article we want to collect all the traditional spanish recipes of these dates, but also those that our neighboring country has bequeathed to us (very popular, too, in the areas bordering Portugal) and the new additions to the recipe book that come hand in hand, above all, with the arrival of fresh cod.
Traditional Spanish recipes
The Spanish cookbook is full of cod recipes, always made with the desalted fish. Each region has its star elaborations, but many of them have spread throughout Spain. What does not change is the hydration process of cod, which in the case of loins must always be done two days in advance, changing the water every 12 hours.
Cod al pil pil
We will start by preparing the oil flavored with garlic the day before. For that we peel the garlic cloves and fillet them. In a pot we put the oil to heat and when it begins to hurt we add the garlic. We lower the heat and let them toast. So that they do not burn, we add two slices of stale bread to the oil, which we remove a few minutes before to finish roasting the garlic. We leave like this until the next day. The next day we clean and peel the cod fillets, remove any bones they may have and equalize them in height with a knife to avoid pieces that stick out much above the oil. We place the fish in a clay pot. If you do not have gas and you have to do it in an induction cooker, a low cast iron casserole will also be worth it. We place the cod fillets with the skin facing up, and we add the flavored oil without the garlic on top. We put the casserole on the fire and we take the whole until it almost starts to boil, that is, a hot pot. Cover with a wooden lid to prevent water from condensing on top of the fish and let it rest for five minutes. We repeat this operation two more times. In total, three boilers and 15 minutes of rest in batches of five minutes. When time passes we prick the fish to see if it is already done. If so, we observe that not much water has been released into the oil. In the event that there is, and so that the sauce does not clarify, we can remove that excess water by removing it with a syringe, absorbing liquid from the base of the pan and in the center, since the oil remains on the surface and the water runs down to the bottom of the pot. Once this is done we begin to turn the pan out of the fire, making half circles. When the gelatin clumps come out, the emulsion begins. You do not have to turn it hard, but with a similar rhythm. As the oil warms up, the sauce binds. Once all the sauce is blended, we put it back on the fire and when it starts to bubble you already have your pil pil. You can use the strainer method to tie the rooms faster. To do this, remove the cod slices and go around making circles in the oil with a strainer. As this movement takes place, the sauce becomes blended. We serve at the moment accompanied by some garlic and chilli fillets.
Link to the recipe | Cod al pil pil
Cod with tomato
Ingredients: 450 g of desalted cod, 1 kg of ripe tomato, extra virgin olive oil, salt.
Elaboration: We cut the cod fillet into three pieces of about 150 gr and put it in a high-walled dish, covering it with olive oil. Next, we put it to confit, that is, we cook it in the oil that we will keep at a temperature of 70º for about 10 minutes. This operation can be done over the fire, keeping it to a minimum, in the oven setting that temperature or even in the microwave, in which case we heat it for 3-4 minutes at maximum power and then let the fish rest in the oil for another 20 minutes. Afterwards, we take four tablespoons of that oil that will have some gelatin and the flavor of cod and we put them in a pan where we are going to fry the peeled tomatoes, without seeds and cut into small pieces, over very low heat. We let them cook for 25 minutes until we have a very thick fried tomato with a subtle touch of cod. We finish the recipe by putting four or five tablespoons of our special fried tomato in a clay dish, and heating until it starts to cook. Then we place the confit cod fillets in the center, cover them with the tomato and let them cook for another three minutes, taking them to the table immediately.
Link to the recipe | Cod with tomato.
Ingredients: 400 g of desalted cod, 2 ceboolas, 3 cloves of garlic, 5 chorizo peppers, 1 slice of loaf bread, 30 g of tomato sauce, 30 ml of extra virgin olive oil, salt.
Elaboration: Soak the chorizo peppers in water for an hour. We drain and we give them three boils to remove the bitter. We do this by putting water in a saucepan until it covers them, we let it boil, we count a minute, we throw the water and we repeat the operation three times. We take out all the meat and reserve it. In a wide casserole we put a little olive oil, we sauté the chopped onions. When they are transparent, add the minced garlic cloves and the crumbled bread. Once it is golden, add the meat of the chorizo pepper, the tomato sauce, give it a few turns and add the water and a little salt. Let the sauce cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. While we raise and dry the cod well, we floured it by shaking off the excess and we mark the slices for a minute on both sides in a pan with a little oil. We pass the sauce through the food processor and put it in the casserole again, place the cod slices and cook the whole for about 10-15 minutes, it will depend on the thickness of the cod, taking care to leave it just right and not overcook it. We rectify the sauce with salt if necessary. We serve very hot.
Link to the recipe | Cod in Biscay style.
Ingredients: 500 g of cod, 1 egg, 100 g of wheat flour, 50 ml of beer, 1 teaspoon of chemical yeast, extra virgin olive oil, salt, parsley, 1 clove of garlic.
Elaboration: To prepare the batter, we chop a clove of garlic into tiny pieces, beat an egg, add half the flour, the yeast and the beer and beat with some rods until it is homogeneous. Then, we add the rest of the flour until we get a thick cream with which we will coat the cod slices. If the cream is too thick, we add a little more beer and if it is too light, we add a little more flour. Sprinkle with a little parsley and stir and we have it ready for coating. We put plenty of oil to heat in a pan and we coat each portion of cod frying it for about two minutes on each side until it is golden and crispy on the outside.
Link to the recipe | Battered cod.
Cod battered in deep fryer without oil
Ingredients for 4 people: 600 g of cod without bones or skin, 3 tablespoons of wheat flour, 3 tablespoons of Maizena, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of water, Tabasco sauce, 100 g of panko, extra virgin olive oil, salt and ground black pepper.
Elaboration: First, we clean the fish well, removing any skin and bones it may have, and cut it into large pieces. We season it well all over. If it is desalted cod, it is better not to add more salt. In three deep plates, we prepare the three layers through which the fish is going to pass. In the first, we mix the wheat flour, corn flour, garlic powder, paprika and a little freshly ground black pepper. In the second, we beat the two eggs and add the two tablespoons of water and a couple of squirts of a spicy sauce, like Tabasco, if we like. In the third plate we put the panko. Piece by piece, we pass the fish through the flour, the egg and, at the end, the panko, which we can press so that it is well adhered to the fish. We are placing the pieces on the hot air fryer tray, without sticking or overlapping. Depending on the size of your appliance, the amounts in this recipe have to be cooked in two, three, or even four batches. We put a few drops of oil on the fish (ideal for this recipe if we have olive oil in spray) and cook it at 200º C for 5 minutes. After this time, being careful not to break the batter, we turn the pieces over, and cook them for another 5 minutes at the same temperature. After this time they will be perfectly golden and ready to eat.
Link to the recipe | Cod battered in deep fryer without oil
Ingredients: 450 g of desalted (or fresh) cod, 1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 cayenne chillies, 1 bay leaf, 450 g of desalinated cod, extra virgin olive oil, ground black pepper, salt and white wine (optional).
Elaboration: Preheat the oven to 180ºC and prepare a glass dish or similar. Cut the onion into julienne strips and the washed pepper into strips, discarding the seeds and internal filaments. Laminate the garlic, reserving them separately. Combine the vegetables in the pan, lightly salt, add the bay leaf and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Mix well and bake 10 minutes; stir and continue baking for 8-10 …