Saturday, August 06, 2011

Salt cod, potatoes and onions

Salt cod (morue) is widely available in supermarkets here in Normandy. I should guess that it is even more prevalent in the south. The kind I bought carried the claim that you could desalinate it in four hours; it remained salty after that time, but pleasantly so.

This is a Keith Floyd recipe. I ignored his recommendation that one cook the fish in a court bouillon, which seemed unlikely to be very influential during such a short procedure. Also, Floyd tells you to fry the potatoes in a covered pan. There are eight medium-sized potatoes in his recipe - how large a pan does he have in mind? A much larger one than I can lay my hands on at present, in any event. I roasted them instead.

Serves two.

400g salt cod, soaked according to the packet instructions
Butter and olive oil
4 medium potatoes, sliced
2 onions, sliced

Drain the salt cod, cover it again in cold water in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. As soon as the water starts to bubble, turn the heat right down, to avoid overcooking the fish and toughening it. It may be tender in just a few minutes. (Floyd gives a timing of 15 minutes, which is surely too long for even the thickest cut of fish.) Remove the cod to a plate, allow it to cool, and flake it.

Put a generous layer of olive oil into a roasting tin - one with a non-stick surface you can trust. Put the tin into a gas mark 6/200C oven for five minutes. Take it out, and tip in the potatoes, turning them to cover in hot oil. Roast them for 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove them to a plate, and mash them roughly with a fork.

In a heavy frying pan (one with a lid) or casserole dish (I used a Le Creuset), gently fry the onions in just enough oil and butter to prevent their sticking. Give them about 15 minutes, until they're golden.

Tip in the potatoes, and spread them out so that you're frying a potato and onion cake. Spread out the flaked cod on top, season with plenty of pepper, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the base of the mix is crispy.


Claudine in France said...

Morue salée...
One of my favourites, served with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, and a generous helping of tasty béchamel (made the old-fashioned way, with milk infused with an onion and a bayleaf)...

Nicholas Clee said...

The French have a particular affection for morue - one not always shared by others. But I'm a fan. I may attempt brandade next.