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Author Notes: 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)
- 2 Large carrots rough chopped
- 2 Russet potatoes rough chopped
- 1 Large onion rough chopped
- 1 Large fennel bulb (stalks removed) rough chopped
- 3-4 sprigs Thyme
- 4-5 Canned plum tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 2 1/2 quarts Fish stock ( can use shrimp stock or canned clam juice)
- 2-3 Scallions sliced
- 15 Black peppercorns
- 3 Bay leaves
- 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