I first had this one Sunday morning at a restaurant overlooking English Harbour in Antigua and since have tried various versions on other Caribbean Islands where bacalao (a/k/a salt cod or salt fish) is a celebratory food. Some islands call this dish Stewed Down Salt Fish.
We serve it New Year's morning after a long night of partying but is great any time. This recipe is my take on this West Indian spatiality. —Stephen Gray
1 1/2 pounds
Bacalao (thick pieces if you can get it)
Large carrots rough chopped
Russet potatoes rough chopped
Large onion rough chopped
Large fennel bulb (stalks removed) rough chopped
Canned plum tomatoes seeded and chopped
2 1/2 quarts
Fish stock ( can use shrimp stock or canned clam juice)
Chopped parsley for garnish
Sriracha or other hot sauce (in Bermuda they use sherry pepper sauce)
Cut bacalao into 2-3 inch hunks and rinse in cold water to remove excess salt. Soak in refrigerator for 2-3 days, changing the water twice a day
Bring water seasoned with peppercorns and 2 bay leaves to a simmer in a sauté pan. Simmer the bacalao until it just starts to easily flake apart with a fork. Remove, let cool, check for bones and flake. Don't over cook the bacalao at this stage or the fish will get tough. If any pieces don't flake apart, simmer a little longer.
Sauté onions, carrots, celery and fennel in olive oil till onions soften. Add tomatoes and cook a little longer.
Add the stock, thyme, one bay leaf and potatoes and bring to boil. Boil slowly till the potatoes are almost cooked through. Add the bacalao, scallions and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with parsley and optional sriracha or other hot sauce and crusty bread