07/08/2009

Traditional salt cod

Salt cod is made by filleting or butterflying cod and arranging in layers with layers of coarse salt in-between. The fish is allowed to stand in a cool place for 1-2 weeks. To increase the time it can be stored, salt cod is dried, traditionally by laying it in a single layer on clean rocks or gravel, in dry weather, until reduced in thickness and dry to the touch. If the fish is sun-dried, it can turn yellowish.

Small codfish are treated differently: they are gutted, their heads cut off and they are washed in cold water, then arranged in a barrel. A layer of salt is put on the bottom, then a layer of fish, with the backs down, then another thick layer of salt, taking care to fill the body cavities of the fish with salt. When the barrel is full, a final layer of salt is put in, a loosely fitted lid put in and a light weight put on top.

To cook salt fish, soak it in a generous measure of water for 12 hours, changing the water 2-3 times. It is then cooked in fresh water for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces. It is traditionally served with boiled potatoes and turnips, and butter or tallow (with cracklings).

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