Friday, December 17, 2010

Portuguese Kale and Salt Cod Chowder

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You may have seen these little boxes at the store and wondered what the salted codfish inside looked like. I forgot to take a picture, but it looks just like filleted and skinned dried fish! Since the fish has been preserved in salt, it must be soaked in water before using. The fish is simply covered with cold water and refrigerated for at least 24 hours. The water should be changed three or four times during that period. After the fish has been rehydrated, it's ready to cook.
I used half the fish to make Portuguese Kale and Salt Cod  Chowder. I'll use the other half to make something else, so stay tuned. 

Along with linguica and potatoes, the salt cod made a hearty and delicious chowder. I used homemade chicken stock for a rich flavor. 

Have you ever cooked salt cod? What did you make?

Portuguese Kale and Salt Cod Chowder (adapted from The New York Times)
1/2# boneless, skinless salt cod
1 T olive oil
1# linguica, cut into 1/2-inch disks and then into half moons
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1-1/2 quarts chicken stock
8 oz. kale, stemmed, rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper

Soak salt cod in cold water for at least 24 hours, changing water every four hours. Keep refrigerated. Drain and tear the cod into bite-size pieces, removing any skin or bones. Cover cod with milk and bring nearly to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Warm olive oil in large soup pot over high heat. Add sausage and cook for 3 minutes to lightly brown. Reduce heat to medium, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until the onions are nearly soft, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and toss. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add kale, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Return to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cod and adjust seasoning.