Unfortunately for Portugal and all old Portuguese colonies, today eating cod comes with a sense of remorse - thanks to an endangered species status. This is not something that is easy to deal with for the Portuguese who have been eating cod, or “bacalhau”, for centuries. In Brazil however, one of the largest fish of the Amazon - the arapaima - can be found in markets and is now prepared and said to taste just like cod: dried and salt-cured.
It was the Vikings who cleverly dehydrated fish in the 8th century, which conveniently became food for long voyages at sea without any refrigeration: it is no coincidence that the Portuguese have adopted this during their long history of sea explorations.
In Brazil, cod became appreciated by the royal family in the 19th century and almost a sacred habit of serving it on Friday preceding Easter today. Now, with the help of the arapaima, Brazilians can count on finding their traditional fish taste, without contributing to the extermination of the real cod.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Desalt the Cod: 48 hours
Baked Cod Recipe
* 2 and 1/2 lb. (1 kg.) salted cod fillet (Or salted arapaima)
* 1 tablespoon paprika
* 4 potatoes in thick triangles
* 3 tomatoes cut into large triangles
* 2 red onions, cut into slices or quarters
* 2 bell peppers, sliced
* 4 or 5 Collard green leaves
* 8 oz. (240 g) Fresh White Paris Mushrooms
* 1/2 cup oil
* 1 tablespoon of juniper
* 1 glass of white wine
* Chopped fresh parsley to garnish the dish
1) Desalinate the cod fillets making them soak in water, in the refrigerator, for 48 hours: not forgetting to change the water every six to twelve hours, or if your pieces of fish are small; you can soak in water for less time if you like the salty taste, but I would never go less than 24 hours.
2) Place some collard green leaves at the bottom of a pan that goes in the oven; over them
arrange a layer of mushrooms.
3) Over the mushrooms place the cod fillets, then pour the wine over it.
4) Season with the spices. Top with potatoes, tomatoes, onion, bell peppers and juniper.
5) Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F (175 ˚C). Pour olive oil over everything. Cook over medium heat, with the pan covered, for about 40 minutes.
6) When the cod is cooked, uncover the pan and continue cooking in oven to dry some of the liquid, if any.