Salt cod is one of those things that have always appealed to me. There are so many things you can do with it! You can put it in soups, flake and make fish balls/fritters with it, make into a brandade (my FAVORITE, except the family can’t have it), add to a stir fry, or some fried rice, put in a tomato-based stew, etc. It is used not only in France and parts of Europe, but also in Latin America, and my homeland, the Philippines, where it is called Bacalao and is a mainstay of the Lenten season. The only thing that has discouraged me from using it more often is the traditional long-term soak, as you have to leave it in the fridge, where it takes up space, and change the water it soaks in several times, for at least a couple of days. I finally found a way to quick-soak it, and it works perfectly. Strictly speaking, it isn’t a SOAK, but it is a fast way of getting rid of the salt, which means you can do it early in the morning, with enough time to serve it at lunch. Or start after lunch and have it ready for supper.
The other consideration when eating salt cod, besides the soaking process, is mercury. Cod does offer omega-3 fatty acids and other benefits, but it is also a moderate-mercury fish. Enjoy it once in a while, but know that there are other, better choices.
1 lb. salt cod, brought gently to a boil with water to cover — change the water 2-3 times until no longer salty and cod is tender and flakes easily
1 1/2 lbs. French fingerlings or other potato
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine or apple cider vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Bring potatoes to a boil in a large pot with water to cover. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, approx. 20 minutes, or just until they can be pierced through with a fork or the tip of a knife. Peel potatoes (if desired; I left some unpeeled) and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add flaked salt cod and potatoes. Toss gently, adjust seasoning, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately. Can be served warm or at room temperature.
Note on the potatoes: I love these French fingerlings, not just because of the name which matches today’s feast perfectly. French fingerlings have a somewhat rosy hue and a hint of sweetness to their flesh, a perfect partner to the salt cod. Of course, you can use whatever potatoes you have on hand, or your favorite.