The robust meatiness of salt cod can stand up to bold flavours much better than its fresh counterpart. Salt cod does not look particularly appetising in its pre-soaked form and doesn’t smell wonderful when it is being poached. But keep the faith and be brave-it really is delicious. Remember to soak the salt cod in cold water for 24 hours, refreshing the water at least 3 times.
- 450g salt cod, soaked in cold water for 24 hours (see intro)
- 3 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 2 large courgettes, trimmed and cut into 5mm thick rounds
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 head fennel, trimmed and finely sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
- ½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked pimenton (mild)
- 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
- 150g fresh tomatoes (cherry or vine), roughly chopped
- 200ml vegetable stock or water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 rosemary sprig
- Drain the soaked salt cod and place in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and place over a low heat. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and leave until the fish is cool enough to handle. Peel off skin and remove any bones. Flake the fish into a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Place the peppers and courgettes in a large roasting tin and toss with two tablespoons of the oil. Roast in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, turning the vegetables halfway through cooking.
- Meanwhile you can prepare the tomato sauce: Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and add the onion, fennel and garlic. Sauté over a low heat for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. Add the hot smoked paprika, mild smoked paprika and cook for a minute. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, stock or water, bay leaf and rosemary. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the roasted peppers and courgettes. Stir in the flaked salt cod and taste and season with salt (if necessary) and ground black pepper. Heat through gently. Serve with lots of crusty bread and a green salad.