January 19, 2009

HOME-CURED SALT COD


Making your own salt cod is so easy - and brings you a fresher, more succulent piece of fish, with a deeper taste than many commercial types. Unfortunately, here in America, most of those I've purchased taste a lot like the wooden box in which they're packed. And at a premium price! I got a good deal on fresh, wild, true cod today, so I came home and started some salt cod.
Salting the fish reduces the water content, retards bacterial growth and results in more flavor and body. From the Vikings to the Basques, Spanish and Italians, preserved cod has been a staple of the larder. Cod prepared this way will keep for many months refrigerated, wrapped well to protect it. Once dehydrated and salted, it must be reconstituted in several changes of cold water over about 24 hours before use in recipes.
Whether you use it for brandade, fritters, stewed baccala or eat it straight in a salad, you'll find that salting your own makes for the best-tasting dishes.
Give it a try and have fun!



Ingredients:
2 lbs. fresh, skinless cod fillets
1 cup kosher salt, for dredging
Cheesecloth




Directions:
Dredge the fish generously in the salt, pressing the salt firmly into the flesh, so the entire surface and crevices are coated in salt. Wrap the fillets in cheesecloth and place on a rack in a non-reactive pan. Refrigerate the fish, uncovered, for 24 hours. Remove cod from cheesecloth and rinse in cold water to remove salt. Pat dry and re-wrap in clean cheesecloth. Refrigerate, on a rack, uncovered for 4-7 days. Thinner fillets can go 4 days, inch thick pieces should go for 7 days. Pour off any juices that accumulate under rack. As fish cures, it will become more opaque and stiff. Once to this point, the cod is ready to use. If not using immediately, remove cheesecloth and wrap fish in butcher paper and then in a freezer bag and keep refrigerated for up to 2 months. When ready to use the cod, soak it in cold water for 18 to 24 hours, changing the water three times. Pat dry and proceed with chosen recipe.

5 comments:

Patrick said...

Sounds fantastically simple, especially in our humid climate, to use the refrigerater to dry it out!

I'm going to try this.

elKomenda said...

And I salted mine today, at the mornin it will be hanging at the attic:) It's good below 40F there

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel

Gayle said...

Merci, Daniel, pour votre gentil commentaire. J'aime la bonne cuisine et le vin - et vous faire partager ce que je sais et d'apprendre. Bonne année à vous!

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