Not being American, our family has traditionally served turkey as the center piece of our Christmas dinner, leaving Thanksgiving open for a number of other dishes. In the past we’ve mostly served either lamb or salmon, but this year we’re going to give our old Portuguese favorite a go: Bacalhao a Gomes de Sa.
This traditional dish involves about a metric ton of salted cod and olive oil, with plenty of boiled potatoes, olives and fried onions. Sound delicious? Maybe, maybe not, but trust me, the final result is a golden bed of baked goodness, rich with olive oil and the kind of aromas that make the neighbors come a knocking.
The recipe is as follows:
1) 1.5 kg of salted cod
2) 1 kg of potatoes
3) 5 boiled eggs
3.5 ) Garlic to taste
4) 3 large onions
5) 1/2 cup of olive oil (or more)
6) salt and pepper
What you do is simple: soak the cod overnight to draw out the salt, changing the water at least 3 times in 24 hours (about 6 cups of water / 500 g of cod). Then, when you’re ready to start cooking, flake the cod into pieces, add a 1/4 cup of olive oil and saute for about 6 minutes before putting it in a casserole dish.
Turn the oven to 350 degrees.
Then boil the potatoes with their skin on with plenty of thick sea salt thrown in (about 35 minutes), but don’t over cook. Let them cool, peel them and cut them into thick wedges.
Cut the onions into semi-circles and saute them with olive oil until golden. Throw in the garlic and stop when they’re golden too.
Mix the potato and cod carefully so that they don’t fall apart. Add the onions and olives, drench with remaining olive oil, and bake for 30 or so minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven, decorate with sliced boiled eggs and parsley and serve!
Here’s another great variation on the recipe. I’m going to do more research until I find the final version I like.