Nutritional Info

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 (1112g)

Calories 452
Calories from Fat 102 (23%)
Amount Per Serving %DIV
Total Fat 11.4g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Monounsaturated Fat 6.4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 19.7mg 7%
Sodium 184.2mg 8%
Potassium 779.9mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 74.7g 25%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g 1%
Sugars 14.5g
Protein 13.4g 27%

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Recipe Description
As exceptional as the fresh seafood dishes of Mexico are, dried and salted shrimp and fish are traditionally eaten during the major holidays. Dozens of dishes using baby-finger sized dried shrimp or ground shrimp are served during Lent. Many Mexican families serve the festive baccalao a la Vizcaina for either their Christmas or New Year's Eve meal. This version of Mexico's most traditional Christmas dish was shared with me by Ana Rosa Bautista, a very talented businesswoman originally from Mexico City. When you first see that hard-as-a-board slab of dry cod with which this dish is made, it is impossible to imagine the gastronomic miracle that can be created. The salting process turns a bland piece of fish into something much greater. Baccalao is usually served only with Crusty Bread Rolls, or other hard French-type rolls, but a leafy salad with spinach or bitter greens is a good addition. Leftovers make wonderful fillings for tortas, using the same hard rolls, slices of avocados, tomato, and, if your palate can take it, some sliced jalapeno chilies. Since this is such a festive dish, I like to serve a bubbly semi-dry champagne or, for something more sedate, a dry Riesling, and then end the meal with Ancho Chile Flan. The secret of transforming a piece of hard, dry fish into a masterpiece is in the soaking process to remove the salt. Back in the "good old days," you would simply wrap the dried fish in a net, put it in a fast-running stream around 6 o'clock in the evening, pull it out at noon the next day, and start cooking. Ana Rosa puts her salt cod in a pot with very cold water and refrigerates it for 16 to 24 hours, changing the water every six hours or so. The only way to really know when the salt crystals have been replaced by liquid is by tasting. If it soaks too long, it will lose its special taste and texture, but if it soaks for too short a time, it will still be salty. For the last soaking period I always substitute cold milk. I can't say that it makes a difference, but it was the way I was first taught when I lived in Spain, so that's the way I do it. Totally close your eyes to any directions on a package that suggests you simmer the fish instead of soaking it to remove the salt, and always start this dish three or four days in advance.
Prep time
10 min
Cook time
20 min
Ready In
30 min

Ingredients

Serves Tool

Serves To:USMetric
2 Pound(lb)  salted cod, soaked for at least 12 hours
3 Tablespoon(T)  olive oil
1/2   white onion, finely chopped
6 Clove(clv)  garlic, minced
6 Tablespoon(T)  flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
12   medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
3   bay leaves
1/2 Cup(c)  raisins
3/4 Cup(c)  macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
36   small green pimiento-stuffed olives
3 Tablespoon(T)  capers (optional)

Preparation

Place soaked and desalted cod in a pot of fresh cold water and very slowly bring the water to a simmer, about 30 minutes. Drain and break the fish into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven and saute the onion just until it softens. Add garlic and parsley, and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Turn up the heat, add tomatoes and bay leaves, and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often so the sauce does not stick to the pan. The mixture should become somewhat thicker and reduced in volume. Shred the cod and stir it into the tomato mixture. Add raisins and macadamia nuts, and continue to cook over low heat for another 15-20 minutes, until the mixture is almost dry. Stir in the olives and the capers, if using, and simmer until the flavors are well blended. The last step is the simplest and the one that makes baccalao perfect for a holiday meal. Cover the dish and set it aside in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours. It will be dramatically better when it is reheated (adding a little water, if needed) and served at a later time. The distinct flavors of both the fish and the sauce are intensified.

Additional notes

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