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Salt Cod with Samfaina

by practicewithdanielle
Top down shot of Salt Cod with Samfaina sitting in a white bowl on brown parchment paper

Making Salt Cod with Samfaina was an experience.

I’ll preface with saying, you need at least a week to make salt cod. I’m not crazy, most people don’t have a week to deal with a piece of fish. You can buy salt cod at specialty seafood shops, but shiiiit was expensive.

Make it yourself for a fraction of the price. 

ALSO you can use regular cod in place of salt cod. I just wanted to see if I can do it because it’s a very common dish in certain parts of Spain.

Salting cod basically dries the fish out and allows for it to last for months and months in your fridge. The smell is real fishy when it’s dried out, but loses it’s smell immediately when you rehydrate it.

Communities not along the coast eat salt cod because they don’t have immediate access to fresh fish. Having done a little research, it sounds like Salt Cod is a popular dish throughout Spain – probably because it’s delicious!

Top down shot of Salt Cod with Samfaina sitting in a white bowl on brown parchment paper

I would absolutely make this again and substitute the salt cod for regular cod if I needed to throw together a quick dinner.

The main difference between salt cod and regular cod is…the salt. Salt cod has a consistent salt flavor throughout the fish rather than just the areas you intend to salt it (like the top of the fish).

It tastes like it’s straight from the sea.

Samfaina is the Catalan version of Ratatouille (vegetable sauce/stew).

Vegetables are cooked together in pureed tomato to result in a soft and saucy base for the fish. Samfaina is incredibly easy to assemble and such a satisfying option when it’s cold outside (WTF Denver, why are you still snowing!?).

I’m really glad I tried Salt Cod with Samfaina.

Top down shot of Salt Cod with Samfaina sitting in a white bowl on brown parchment paper

It’s certainly not a dish you can throw together at a moment’s notice, because you have to plan for the salt cod. But it’s actually very speedy once you go to make the final dish.

The resulting meal is quite elegant and full of flavor. Add some bread if you’re looking for something hearty or skip it if you’re living that low carb life.

Recipe adapted and slightly changed from Rustica: A Return to Spanish Home Cooking.

Top down shot of Salt Cod with Samfaina sitting in a white bowl on brown parchment paper

Salt Cod with Samfaina

(Start making 45 minutes before you want Salt Cod with Spanish Pisto – not including salt time)

1 1/2 lbs salt cod*
1/2 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 zucchini, 1/4 in pieces
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, pureed
3 small eggplants, 1/4 in pieces
A drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

* To make the salt cod, you will need about a week. Follow instructions on this Saveur’s website. This is actually very easy to do, it requires some planning though. You only need salt, cod and a week. If you’d rather make something instant, use regular cod from your grocery store. 

To peel tomatoes, mark an X with a knife in the bottom of your tomatoes. Boil in hot water for 1 minute, rinse with cold water, then peel the skins off. Puree in a blender.

Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add your eggplant and cook for about 10 minutes, until soft and cooked through.

Remove the pan from heat and reserve eggplant in a bowl. Add another 3 Tbsp of oil in the same pan. Saute the onions for about 5 minutes, then add garlic, bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Cook for another minute. Add the peppers, cook for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Add tomato puree and eggplant back to the pan and cook over medium-low heat until your salt cod is finished.

Turn your oven broiler to high. Cut 4 equal portions of fish, and use the rest of your oil to grease a baking sheet. Cook fish under the broiler for 4 minutes on each side.

Plate the fish over the Samfaina and drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil.


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