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I've always thought it strange that for a region which has so much great fresh fish, dried cod from Norway is considered a delicacy. Bakalar has become a traditional dish to eat on the meat-free day before Christmas.
- Soak the bakalar in a bucket of water for 24 hours, changing the water twice during that time.
- Cover the bucket with something heavy to keep out the smell.
- The next day, drain the water and bash the fish with a mallet for a couple of minutes to soften.
- Place in a large pot and cover with cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Lift out the fish (reserving the cooking liquid) and pick off all the flesh, discarding the bones.
- Flake the flesh and put back into the pot with the reserved cooking liquid.
- Add 100ml of the olive oil, half the garlic and parsley, the potatoes and, if it needs it, a bit more water so that everything's completely covered.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover and bring back to a gentle boil. Simmer for about an hour or until the liquid is creamy. Remove from the heat.
- Add the rest of the olive oil, garlic and parsley and check the seasoning.
- Put the lid back on the pot and, holding the pot and lid with a tea towel, shake vigorously until the mixture is emulsified and thick.
- Serve with crusty bread.