Passport to Portugal: Cod A Gomes de Sa

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

This is a traditional Portuguese recipe based largely on Emeril's version, but with some added flavors on my own. Originally, this recipe is Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa, and uses the dried, salted cod known throughout Mediterranean cooking as baccala. It was named after Gomes de Sa, the son of a weather merchant in Porto, Portugal who made lots of money dealing cod and baccala. This dish comprised of potatoes, sauteed onions and garlic, together with flaky salted cod is wonderfully satisfying and filling. But perhaps my favorite part is the use of boiled eggs and olives on top as a garnish. Both add unexpected color and flavor that's both delicious and beautiful to look at. The whole dish is the essence of home cooking, as it's prepared and served "casserole style" (but casserole done right!).

My version uses fresh cod instead of baccala. I'm personally not a huge fan of baccala -- I find it too salty and finicky to work with and much prefer fresh cod. But if you want the original feel free to use the baccala. Just remember to soak it in water for 24 hours first! (see what I mean about high maintenance?) I also use roasted garlic in addition to fresh for added sweetness and depth of flavor I think works very nicely in this dish, and use Spanish black olives. You can use any olives you wish, but I like the color and mild flavor of the Spanish black olives. Kalamatas and green Sicilian olives would work very well too but will be considerably brinier. I also add a sprinkling of paprika (regular, not smoked) for color at the end.

Cod A Gomes de Sa  (Cod with Potatoes and Onions in the Style of Portugal)
1.5 lbs cod, cooked*
1 lb waxed potatoes
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced  (garlic is to taste...I use 4!)
1 Tbsp roasted garlic, finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil (about 1/2 cup)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 boiled eggs, peeled
1/4 cup Spanish black olives (whole or sliced)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, very finely minced

Take the cooked cod and using your fingers or a fork, gently flake it but careful not to pulverize the pieces. Set aside.

Fill a pot with cold water. Wash and scrub the potatoes, then cut them in 1/4 inch thick slices. Add them to the water and cook until fork-tender (about 13 minutes). Drain the potatoes well and set aside.

While the potatoes cook, make the sauteed onions. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute onions on medium heat until very soften and starting to get golden brown, about 6-10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook another minute. Take off heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take a casserole dish and drizzle enough olive oil to layer the bottom of the dish. Add half of the potatoes and season them with salt and pepper. Add half of the cod on top of the potatoes. Add half of the onions on top of the cod. Add the remaining cod on top of the onion layer, then the remaining onions on top of the second cod layer. End with the remaining half of potatoes right on top. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil to cover the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes have turned golden.

While the cod bakes, slice the eggs into 1/4 inch thick slices. To serve, garnish the casserole with the sliced egg and sprinkle the olives about and parsley. Serve hot.

*This is a great recipe to use up leftover cooked white fish, especially cod. If you have some leftover from fish n chips for example, simply take off the batter and use the cooked flaked fish inside. If you're starting from scratch, simply cook the cod fillets in a fryer with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until the fish flakes when you touch it. This means, when you poke it with a spatula or fork it will break off into flake pieces. You can use any leftover white fish for this recipe -- cod, halibut, sea bass, tilapia, rockfish -- but cod really tastes the best and is most authentic!

1 comment:

Lexy said...

I am portuguese and I am looking for an english recipe. thank you!