Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bacalao Stewed in Spicy Tomato Sauce

I hoard food. My freezer, reefer and pantries are always full. Always. Since I am on a "mini vacation" (ha! ha!) and have all the time in the world, I decided that I will use up all the food and ingredients I currently have before I start stocking up again. First to go, the Bacalao (Salt Cod).

In the Philippines during Lent, Bacalao is the star of the dining table, what with the absence of any kind of livestock meat. I bought a package some months ago with the intent of making it for Good Friday, but I got distracted with the beautiful lamb rack I got from my butcher that day so the Bacalao was retired to the back of the freezer, LOL. And yes, I had lamb for Good Friday! (Shh.. don't tell my mom!)

I am preparing it the way I remember my mom makes it -- with lots of tomatoes, garlic, shallots and cayenne pepper served with a hearty bread to sop the sauce.

What's with the mussels? I saw them at Harry's when I went for bread. They begged me to bring them home so I obliged!

Bacalao Stewed in Spicy Tomato Sauce

14 oz salt cod loin, soaked in cold water overnight
2 T olive oil
3 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup olives, cut crosswise
(1) 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 T tomato paste
1 T muscovado sugar
2 T fresh Thyme
2 T fresh savory (optional)
1 t cayenne pepper
4 segments lemon confit, julienned (or juice of 1/2 of a lemon)
2 cups soaking water
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Soak cod overnight, changing the soaking water at least 3 times. Save 2 cups of the soaking water for cooking. Drain, then cut into 1" cubes. Set aside. Heat the oil in a medium pan. Saute the shallots and garlic until transparent. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, savory, cayenne pepper, lemon confit and soaking water. Bring it into rolling boil then lower the heat. *At this point, I reserved about 1/2 cup of the sauce for when I cook the mussels.* Add the bacalao and olives, bring it to boil once again, and then lower heat. Cover pan and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve with a good hearty bread.

Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup of the reserved tomato sauce from above
2 slices of ginger
1/4 cup white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper

Scrub the mussels and let sit in cold water for an hour. Place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to boil, lower the heat and simmer sauce for about 10-15 minutes or until significantly reduced. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mussels, stir to coat with sauce. As soon as the mussels open ( a minute or 2), remove the pan from the heat.

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