If you have never tried salt cod before, this recipe is a perfect place to start. I associate this salad with Easter because we always had it on Good Friday, when I was a child and it remains one of my favourite ways of eating this uniquely flavoured fish.
What is salted cod?
Salt cod is made by packing the fresh fish in salt in order to preserve it, a perfect solution in the days before refrigerators had been invented. As the flesh dries out, it shrinks and hardens and this enables the fish to be kept in storage for a long time. Prior to cooking, it needs to be desalted and rehydrated for at least 24 hours, but this is a simple process requiring no special skills.
When cooked, salt cod becomes moist and tender and is more intensely flavoured than ordinary fish. It flakes easily into small, tasty morsels so it is popularly used in Mediterranean cooking where, rather than eaten on its own, it is added to pulse and vegetable stews, omelettes, salads, croquettes and in “tortillitas,” which are mini pancakes, popular in Spain and which my grandmother would often cook for us.
Here salt cod is added to cooked potatoes and onions and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice for a simple but delicious, healthy salad. If you wish, you can also add sliced boiled eggs and olives on top. Serve with a large dollop of mayonnaise on the side.
Salt Cod and Potato Salad Recipe
- 400 grams of salt cod
- 3-4 medium sized potatoes (or 500 grms new potatoes).
- 1 small onion (or 1-2 large spring onion)
- 1 tbspn fresh chopped parsley
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbspns olive oil
- Rinse the fish and place in a bowl of water overnight (or for at least 12 hours).
- Replace the water several times with fresh water (as this will help to desalinate the fish.)
- To cook, put the cod in a pan and cover with water.
- Bring water to the boil and turn down the heat so the cod is cooking gently. Do not add any salt.
- Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the flesh moves apart easily. Take care not to overcook the fish.
- Whilst the fish is cooking, peel and chop potatoes in quarters (or scrubbed halves, if using new potatoes). Set potatoes to one side in a bowl of salted water. Chop the onions and parsley finely and set to one side.
- Once fish is cooked, remove with a slotted spoon, draining the excess water back into the pan. Put fish onto a plate or tray. Do not throw away the water in the pan.
- Put potatoes in the same pan of water that you cooked the fish in, and cook them until they are soft but still firm.
- Whilst potatoes are cooking, gently remove the skin from the cod and pull the flesh apart into flakes.
- Drain cooked potatoes and put into a pan of cold water for about a minute to stop them over-cooking.
- Sieve potatoes and put into a clean bowl. Add the onions, parsley and olive oil to potatoes and mix well.
- Then add the flaked cod and lemon juice to the potato mixture.
- Allow to cool before serving.
- Serve with mayonnaise and green salad.