Cod Fish is one of my favorite fish but there is one problem I might be allergic to it, I am saying “might” because the two times I ate Bacalhau / Bacalao (not the fresh cod fish) in the Philippines went horribly wrong. One incident I was rushed to the emergency room as my body had swollen a lot and I cannot breathe, I remember my face looks like it was punched my Mike Tyson a lot of times and another incident nearly similar but luckily I have antihistamine on my side. Now this will be my third time, I cant really resist eating this fish, its like the feeling of eating Fugu where I know there is a possibility of some tragic incident. Also this time it will be much different as instead of using dried bacalhau, I will be using Bacalhau Fresco which is a fresh cod.
Bacalhau means dried and salted codfish in Portuguese, it is a common dish in Portugal and Spain hence there is a Filipino version more specifically in Iloilo and Bacolod where they have a strong Spanish influence. Salt cod or bacalhau have been around for at least 5 centuries and it was invented as salting and drying it is the only way to preserve cod fish during those days before refrigiration, these techniques not only preserve the fish but it also preserves the nutrients and makes the cod fish taste even better. It also became widespread for Catholic countries as during the lenten season it was forbidden to eat meat and bacalhau was eaten instead. The common method of using this great fish is by soaking the fish in water to rehydrate the fish, once rehydrated you can not treat it like a fresh fish, so cooking method would be the same. There a a lot of uses for this fish and a lot of dishes invented which is too many to mention just google it but for this post I will be cooking it baked with tomtatoes and white wine reduction.
4 large cod fillets
3 large tomatoes, sliced
1 large red onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup seafood stock
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbps olive oil
1. Cover cod fish with sea salt and place in fridge for at least 24 hours.
2. Soak cod fish in cold water and remove excess salt.
3. Pat dry the fish using a paper towel, prepare a greased pan grill and grill the fish fillets for 1 minute on each side or until side becomes brown. Once brown set aside.
4. In a pan add olive oil then saute garlic and onions.
5. Add tomatoes then cook until tomatoes become soft.
6. Add wine, seafood stock, tomato puree, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 cup of the chopped parsley. Bring to a boil and reduce until sauce thickens.
7. Place tomato sauce on an oven proof plate then place fish on top.
8. Using a preheated oven at 200C, place the plates and bake for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and sprinkle the remaining parsley.
Now for the good news! I survived this Bacalhau and it looks like I am only allergic to the dried Bacalhau and not the fresh, it must be the preservatives they put in there nowadays!