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Portuguese Creamed Salt Cod
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Serves/Makes:6 or more

  • 1-1/2 lbs (.7 kg). dried salt cod (boneless and skinless if available)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 5 tbsp (70 ml) olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs (.7 kg). new or long white potatoes, peeled and diced into small pieces (3/8 inch)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
  • 1-3/4 cups (425 ml) milk
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) white pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups (350 ml) heavy cream (or light cream or half-and-half)
  • Soak the cod in refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours in several changes of cold water.
  • Drain cod, rinse a few times and drain well again.
  • Remove bones and skin and with your fingers pull the cod into small shreds; set aside (You can save time by purchasing skinless and boneless cod).
  • In a large heavy skillet over low heat, saute onions in 3 tbsp (45 ml) of olive oil about 15 minutes, until very soft and golden.
  • Meanwhile stir-fry potatoes in 2 tbsp (30 ml) of olive oil in a second large skillet over moderately low heat for about 2 minutes until they begin to color; then add the water.
  • Cover and cook over lowest heat for 15 minutes; remove from heat and reserve covered.
  • Once onions are golden, mix in cod and 1/2 cup (125 ml) of milk, cover and cook over lowest heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
  • While cod cooks, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat and blend in flour; add 1-1/4 cups (300 ml) milk and heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth about 3 minutes.
  • Blend in white pepper and set aside.
  • When cod has 10 minutes left to cook, preheat oven to 450 degrees (225 C.).
  • Add potatoes, white sauce and cream to cod mixture; mix well.
  • Transfer to a buttered shallow 3 quarts (2850 ml) casserole.
  • Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, lower to 350 degrees (175 C.) and continue baking uncovered for 25 minutes until bubbly and tipped with brown.
  • Serve hot.
The important step in this recipe is to soak the cod as long as possible and change water often. (I change water at least 3 times a day) Very creamy and delicious.

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