The salad comes from the Alentejo region of Portugal, where it’s eaten as tapas; serve it as an entree among 6 or as a light summer dinner or lunch for 4.
This dish is based on a rustic Portuguese salad that’s not much more than dressed chickpeas, salt cod, olives and boiled eggs – the amounts and ratios aren’t fixed. Potatoes, while not traditional, do make it a bit more substantial and if you wanted, you could sling in some watercress sprigs or rocket leaves as well.
- 750 g piece salt cod (bacala)
- 750 g kipfler potatoes, peeled
- 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 x 400 g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 small red onion, halved and very finely sliced
- 60 ml (¼ cup) sherry vinegar, or to taste
- 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges
- 60 g (½ cup) pitted black olives
- watercress, chopped coriander and sweet paprika, to serve
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.
Place the salt cod in a large container of water. Refrigerate for 24 hours, changing the water 3 or 4 times. Drain well then place in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a simmer then cook over medium-low heat for 25 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Drain well then cool. Remove the skin and bones then use your hands to coarsely flake the fish. Meanwhile cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender then drain well. Cool then cut into thick slices.
Heat the oil in a small, heavy-based frying pan over medium. Add the garlic then cook for 3 minutes or until light golden. Remove the garlic to a large bowl with a slotted spoon; reserve the oil and cool. Add the chickpeas, potatoes, onion and cod to the garlic in the bowl, season with freshly ground black pepper to taste and toss to combine. Whisk the reserved oil and vinegar together in a bowl then pour over the chickpea mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl then scatter over the eggs and olives, and some watercress, coriander and paprika to taste, then serve.
Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel.
This recipe is part of our 10 ways with canned chickpeas column.
View previous 10 ways with… columns and recipes.