400 g bacalhau (salted cod) (see Note), cut into rough pieces
4 large pontiac or desiree potatoes, unpeeled
125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
2 large onions
300 ml pouring cream
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 will need to soak the cod overnight.
Rinse salt from cod and place in a large bowl with enough water to cover. Stand overnight, changing water 3 times. Drain and pat dry with paper towel.
Place potatoes in a large saucepan with 3 tsp salt and enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour or until almost tender. Drain. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1 cm-thick slices.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Using your hands, break cod into 3 cm pieces. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over high heat and cook cod for 1 minute each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate.
Add 1 tbsp oil to same pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate. Heat remaining 60 ml oil in same pan. Cook potatoes, turning halfway, for 5 minutes or until golden.
Layer a greased 30 cm round baking dish with half the onions, then half the potatoes, then the salted cod. Top with remaining onions, then remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then pour over cream.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and potatoes are very tender.
Bacalhau is available from good delis. Ask your deli to cut it for you as it’s very hard or use wet-salted bacalhau which has no bones and is much softer, and cut into 4 cm pieces.
Drink 2009 Quinta das Setencostas white, Portugal ($15)
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 13, pg75.
Photography by Derek Swalwell