Spain is a privileged country when it comes to gastronomy, as it has too many top quality ingredients to prepare its best dishes. If you want good fish you have 3 great coasts to fish: the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Cantabrian coasts. And a very, very developed seafood culinary scene.
Spain was always a country with a good fishing industry, so people consumed fish and seafood on a regular basis. However, when the Catholic reign began to dominate the territory, fish consumption went up much more. The main reason behind this is the prohibition of red meat consumption during Holy Week.
People from the lower classes had to look for economic options to be able to comply with this tradition and codfish ended up being the best alternative.
Firstly, because of its price, since it is one of the cheapest options when it comes to fish. In addition, as it has a very low fat content, it is a species that does not provide many calories but it does function as a great source of proteins, minerals and vitamins.
The fact that cod has very little fat makes it perfect to be salted and dried; thus, it is possible to enjoy cod at any time of the year.
Thanks to its versatility, practicality and great taste, cod is part of several iconic recipes of Spanish gastronomy. So, if you want to learn some of them, you are in the right place.
Codfish in pil-pil sauce (6 persons)
When you tasted how delicious this recipe is, you probably thought that it was a very difficult dish to prepare and with many ingredients; however, for your peace of mind, it is simpler than it seems. From the Basque Country comes this delicious recipe.
- 300 g dried desalted cod in slices
- 1 l of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 heads of garlic
- Start by peeling the garlic and filleting each one.
- Find a wide casserole so that each of the cod pieces has its space. Add the oil and start heating.
- When the oil is about to boil, lower the temperature and add all the garlic. Cook until the garlic begins to brown and, when ready, remove the garlic from the heat. Be sure not to leave them longer than necessary, as they could over-brown and this will ruin the sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the oil to cool down. When it is no longer hot, return the pan to the heat over medium-low heat.
- Add the cod loins skin side down and keep the temperature low. The goal is to confit, not fry.
- While cooking, add the garlic and move the pan with gentle movements. This movement will cause the fish to release gelatin and thicken the oil together with the garlic, this will allow an emulsion to form.
- When the sauce is ready, turn the fish over and cook for a few more minutes. Now, after this, you can plate them.
- It can be served with potatoes or bread, if you prefer.
Biscayan cod (4 persons)
From Vizcaya comes this delicious dish that will surely be your new favorite lunch.
- 400 g of cod
- 2 red onions
- 5 chorizo peppers
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 slice of loaf bread
- 30 g tomato sauce
- 30 ml of extra virgin olive oil
- To begin, soak the chorizo peppers in water for one hour. After the time, drain and add them in a saucepan until they boil. Count one minute, throw away the water and repeat the process three times. Remove the flesh from the peppers and set aside.
- Find a large casserole, add a little olive oil and sauté the previously chopped onions.
- When the onions are transparent, add the sliced garlic cloves and the crumbled bread. When browned, add the peppers, tomato sauce, water, salt and stir a few times.
- Let it cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Dust the cod with flour and shake off the excess. Seal the fish on both sides quickly.
- Use a potato masher to pass the sauce and then add it back to the pan. Add also the cod and let it cook for 15 minutes.
- Proceed to serve.
With these recipes as a base, you can also make other preparations such as cod in Riojan sauce or in green sauce. Since the fish has a simple flavor, it can be adapted to almost any recipe, so you only need to experiment until you find the recipe you like the most. You can even make delicious cod meatballs if you wish.
On the other hand, if you prefer to eat something quick, marinate the fish and proceed to fry it. This along with mashed potatoes and a glass of white wine may be enough to make you feel like you are in a gourmet restaurant.