In a previous post, I reviewed one of the books that made me yearn for the world to stop for like, hum, a year (?) just so I could cook my days away: Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America by Maricel E. Presilla. The definitive, encyclopedic resource for latin food lovers, it engulfs you with 500+ recipes that are family friendly if labor intensive. (Since my review, it’s worth noting that Presilla has won the 2013 James Beard award as Best Cookbook of the Year.)
As promised, here’s the second recipe I cooked from the book, with mitigated yet moan-inducing success. I know, quite the contradiction. Presilla’s Brazilian Salt Cod and Potato Casserole, or Bacalhoada, takes at least 2 days to prepare, most of it soaking time, but is simple to make. If the recipe failed, the responsibility rests squarely with me. I had found the most beautiful salt cod at this little Greek grocery. The thick, snowy white fillets were newly dried, still pliant, and fleshy. The thickness alone required that I soak the fish longer than usual. In fact, Presilla recommends testing the fish before cooking it. But I didn’t. And as a result, it was too salty to enjoy unreservedly.
My neighbourhood grocery is out of salt cod and I was spoiled enough that I would rather wait for the next shipment. But you can rest assured that I will try my hand at this recipe again. Have a little patience, taste the soaked fish for saltiness, and you should be fine. Even bad, it’s that good.
A final note: Presilla says the recipe serves 6 people. I cut it in half and still fed 6… I would recommend you do the same. My 2 pounds of salt cod cost me $25, so let’s face it, I was never going to test a recipe with $50 of precious fish anyways.