Portuguese Creamed Salt Cod
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.