The flavours of Portugal are summed up in this beautiful combination of salt cod, smashed roast potatoes, crunchy cornbread crumbs, roast capsicum and olives. Perfect with a glass of mellow Portuguese red wine!
- 600 g thick bacalhau fillet
- 2 cups milk, approximately
- ½ red onion, cut into chunks
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, 2 left whole, 1 chopped
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 kg small new potatoes
- olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 red capsicum, cut into thin strips
- 4 brown onions, finely sliced
- 4 thick slices of cornbread, available from Portugese bakeries
- 4 flat-leaf parsley stalks, leaves picked and chopped
- 3 egg yolks
- ¾ cup pitted black olives (Portuguese if possible)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You'll need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
Cover the bacalhau with water and soak for 24 hours, changing the water 3 times.
Drain the fish, place it in a saucepan and cover with milk. Add the red onion, bay leaves, whole garlic and peppercorns. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast the potatoes with olive oil and salt in a hot oven until golden brown. At the same time roast the strips of capsicum.
Heat more olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the sliced onion over high heat until browned. Reduce the heat and cook gently until soft and nearly caramelised.
Finely crumble the cornbread into a bowl and mix with the chopped garlic, parsley and egg yolks.
Remove the fish from the milk (the milk can be used on another occasion to make a bechamel sauce). Remove the skin and bones and break the fish into chunks.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the roasted potatoes on a board and smash each one with your fist to flatten them. Lay them in a baking dish and cover with the fish chunks, followed by the soft onions and the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper. Stud with olives and scatter with strips of roasted capsicum. Bake for 20–30 minutes. Drizzle with more olive oil before serving.