This is based on the Italian insalata baccalà, one of the best combinations of salty fish and sweet peppers. If you can’t get salt cod at the fishmonger you can make your own quick version by generously sprinkling three chunky cod fillets with Maldon salt and leaving them for about one hour. Rinse the fish under cold water and you’re good to go. Serve with lots of good bread and a simple peppery rocket salad.
- 650g salt cod
- 6 mixed red and yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into large chunks
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 12 black olives
- Start a day in advance if you’ve got dried salt cod. Rinse the fillets under cold running water for 20 minutes then soak in cold water for 24 hours, changing the water about 3-4 times.
- Heat the oven to 210˚c, fan oven 190˚C, mark 7. Put the peppers in a roasting tin and drizzle over 3 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt and ground black pepper and mix well. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until the peppers are just soft and slightly charred around the edges. Pour over the balsamic vinegar and leave to cool. Transfer to a salad bowl or serving plate.
- When the fish has finished soaking, drain and place in a wide sauté pan. Pour over enough cold water to cover the fish and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 3-4 minutes until the fish is starting to flake. Drain carefully and leave to cool. When cold enough to handle, flake the fish into a bowl, discarding the skin. Mix the garlic with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and carefully mix into the flaked fish. Spoon over the peppers and add the remaining salad ingredients. Season with ground black pepper. Gently mix together and serve at room temperature.