Baked salt cod

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

  • 1 kg salt cod, soaked for 2 days, in four changes of cold water
  • 3 litres (12 cups) milk
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • 2 garlic heads, halved widthways
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 500 gm Nicola potatoes (about 4), scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 white onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • 1 lemon, finely grated rind only
  • 80 gm (½ cup) manzanilla olives, pitted and halved
  • 1½ cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley
01   Rinse cod under cold running water, cut into 5cm pieces, place in a large saucepan. Add milk, thyme, garlic and bay leaves, bring to the boil over medium-high heat, simmer until cod begins to flake (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, cool cod for 10 minutes in liquid, remove with a slotted spoon, set aside. Strain liquid with a fine sieve, reserve 500ml.
02   Combine potatoes in a saucepan with enough cold water to just cover, add 300ml of reserved liquid, bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat until potato is just tender (10-15 minutes). Drain, cool slightly, peel, then thinly slice and set aside.
03   Meanwhile, heat oven to 180C. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion, sauté until soft (7-10 minutes), add paprika, stir until fragrant (1 minute), then add cream, lemon rind and remaining reserved liquid and stir occasionally until reduced to a thick sauce consistency (10-15 minutes).
04   Place half the potato in a single layer in the bases of six 300ml-capacity ovenproof dishes. Top with cod, then sauce, then remaining potato, bake until golden (15-20 minutes). Combine olives and parsley in a bowl, scatter over baked salt cod and serve hot.
This recipe is from the October 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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