I’m not sure exactly how the whole “cook twenty four hours straight” shtick managed to float itself to the top of my brain pan, but somehow we managed to pull it off and it’s time I went through and described the process and results for each recipe completed. First up, Salt Cod, Potato, and Tomato.
Here’s a picture of my trunk space full of all the ingredients we needed for the 24 hour cook-a-thon. A total of four grocery stores were visited in a span of about two hours. It felt oddly similar to this:
As midnight crept closer and closer, I started trying to figure out which recipes I could do on my own and which ones needed the touch of a professional. The Salted Cod, Potato and Tomato recipe was fairly straight forward and similar enough to the Salt Cod, Little Gem and Tomato salad I’d made last year that I felt confident starting with it. When the clock stuck twelve, I began.
The tomatoes and garlic needed to be roasted, which would remove moisture and sweeten both. The tomatoes were cut in half and the green hard piece removed as that part is tough and not much fun to gnaw on. My wife was more than happy to lend me a hand by peeling and trimming the ends off the garlic, and when she was finished we placed both the tomatoes and garlic in an ovenproof pan.
Salt, pepper and a healthy dash of olive oil joined the party and the dish was then placed in a medium hot oven until everything was soft and thoroughly cooked.
Did you know that your local supermarket likely carries salted cod? It’s true! Most places sell little wooden boxes stuffed with salt-cured cod in your seafood department. Here’s the innards of such a little box, which is perfect for most recipes. Each fillet was washed free of salt and placed in a cool bowl of fresh water to re-hydrate the fish.
While the roasting and re-hydrating was going on, I focused on the potatoes.
Both the potatoes and salted cod eventually found themselves gently boiling on the stove. When the potatoes were properly soft, I removed them from the heat, drained the excess water from the pot and set them aside. The cod needed more time to soften so it was left on the stove while the other ingredients were tended to.
Right before I started assembling the dish I realized that an important component had been forgotten: the hard-boiled eggs! Thankfully my range has an extra larger burner I can use to quickly boil water. Minutes later, I had three eggs cooling down in ice water, ready to be peeled and chopped.
With everything ready, it was time to put the dish together. The poached salted cod, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, a handful of chopped parsley and all the olive oil used for roasting went into a big bowl and were tossed by hand.
A single serving was carefully placed in a bowl and topped with chopped hard-boiled eggs.
It’s amazing how a single ingredient can play so many roles, but salt cod pulls it off so well. I’m assuming it’s due to the fact salted fish has been a staple of many European diets dating back well over 500 years. That’s a long time to experiment and tweak, and we’re all luckier for it.
This recipe is great for a filling-but not too heavy-lunch. As I’d found out with the Salt Cod, Little Gem and Tomato salad, the fish flavor was shy, almost demurely happy, letting the tomato take center stage. The potato and egg add a hearty element while the chopped parsley lends a bit of peppery bite to each forkful. A simple, elegant dish that’s easy to prepare and enjoy. I’ve made this once more since the marathon, and it was just as enjoyable.
One down, forty two to go.