Recipe Bakalar na bijelo (Salt cod white stew)

Timenspace

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Bakalar na bijelo

Bijelo means white in Croatian, so the title describes the desired prevailing colour of the stew. It is one traditional way of making it in Croatia, but there are other ways to cook it too. This method, and the picture are very much how like I love having it. Usually around Christmas I'd buy a portion. Have not made it myself ever. Probably never will. :D

There is something festive and special about having a dish one a year only...so far, I've tried good ones luckily, never too salty or the cod undercooked or anything like it.

Even very small pubs make it and take orders for it around those days, it can happen that it is sold out by the late afternoon...I love seeing the paper advertising it on the window of the pub, sometimes it is even handwritten. This year I oredred online at an unknown restaurant and had it delivered, it was good!

The taste is rather mild, but definitely sensing the fish.

Ingredients:
1 kg soaked salt cod
1 kg potatoes
4 larger garlic cloves
about 2 dl olive oil
a fist full of parsley leaves (it may be cilantro, per our newest discussions :), I asuume you would not go wrong with any of the soft green herbs you love or you might omit them)
salt, pepper

Salt cod should be soaked in cold water for 3 days and changing the water 1-3x daily. Place the cod in a pot filled with cold water . Let it cook for 30 minutes. Once cooked, clean it, taking out the bones and skin. You will likely get about 600 g of cooked cod. Preserve the cooking water and sieve it. A part of the water should be used for boiling the potatoes, and a part for the cod.

Peel the potatoes and cut in 1 cm thick slices. Put the potatoes to boil. Watch not to overcook them. Cut the garlic and parsley/cilantro leaves. Put 3/4 of the garlic and parsley leaves into a pot with the olive oil. Add the cod, salt. Add a spoon of water that you set aside and put the lid on the pot.

Strongly shake the pot several times to get the white sauce and to soften the cod. **I don't really get it how can shaking make it softer, but you will probably know.:happy:

Once the potatoes are done, flip them over to the cod pot and add more of the water, to the consistency you desire. Add the remaining parsley leaves and garlic and more olive oil. Let it steam cook for another 30 minutes. You may use a larger pot and this pot inside, not touching the bottom.
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Cook it with the lid on. Once it is done, you may add pepper and olive oil accordingly.


The photo is from the article linked.

Pročitajte više na: Tradicionalna priprema: Bakalar na bijelo s krumpirom - gastro.24sata.hr
 
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Morning Glory

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I'll attempt this recipe as I have some salt cod. Its an ingredient I've never used.

Salt cod should be soaked in cold water for 3 days and changing the water 1-3x daily.

Its a good job you wrote this - I'd thought an overnight soak would be enough!
 

Morning Glory

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Strongly shake the pot several times to get the white sauce and to soften the cod. **I don't really get it how can shaking make it softer, but you will probably know.:happy:

Does this mean the 'white sauce' is created from the cod being shaken with the olive oil, garlic and water? I'm a bit puzzled but as I've never used salt cod maybe that is what happens. Maybe (Mrs) Burt Blank would know.
 

Timenspace

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Does this mean the 'white sauce' is created from the cod being shaken with the olive oil, garlic and water? I'm a bit puzzled but as I've never used salt cod maybe that is what happens. Maybe (Mrs) Burt Blank would know.
It was a puzzle for me indeed. In the other recipes I have read they mention mashing some of the potatoes to achieve the creaminess. Some add milk too.
Definitely would be lovely to get someone's first hand experience.
 

Timenspace

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Does this mean the 'white sauce' is created from the cod being shaken with the olive oil, garlic and water?
Thinking about it, maybe...do not know. I'd think shaking would not be enough, a mixing wand would come to thought, for a part of the quantity to emulsify it and get it back to the pot...

I've asked my high-school friends, will post if any useful tips come up.
 

Orangeapron

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It was a puzzle for me indeed. In the other recipes I have read they mention mashing some of the potatoes to achieve the creaminess. Some add milk too.
Definitely would be lovely to get someone's first hand experience.
Thinking about it, maybe...do not know. I'd think shaking would not be enough, a mixing wand would come to thought, for a part of the quantity to emulsify it and get it back to the pot...

I've asked my high-school friends, will post if any useful tips come up.
Hi, the sauce is made cause the albumin of the cod (it can be seen like a gelatine when you put the cod in olive in a mid hot temperature) emulsifies with the olive oil. It needs a good salted cod, and good oil to. Shaking it a bit, the sauce will be bound due to this two ingredients. Mashing potatoes or adding cream is a try to achieve the look and texture of the emulsion but so far of it.
There is a recipe in the north of my country which is based in this emulsion. I leave a vid here.
View: https://youtu.be/5os6HHseH7c
 

Timenspace

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, the sauce is made cause the albumin of the cod (it can be seen like a gelatine when you put the cod in olive in a mid hot temperature) emulsifies with the olive oil. It needs a good salted cod, and good oil to.
Oh fantastic! I am so glad you wrote this! So now we know!
 

Morning Glory

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Hi, the sauce is made cause the albumin of the cod (it can be seen like a gelatine when you put the cod in olive in a mid hot temperature) emulsifies with the olive oil. It needs a good salted cod, and good oil to. Shaking it a bit, the sauce will be bound due to this two ingredients. Mashing potatoes or adding cream is a try to achieve the look and texture of the emulsion but so far of it.
There is a recipe in the north of my country which is based in this emulsion. I leave a vid here.
View: https://youtu.be/5os6HHseH7c

Thank you for your reply. Its very useful to know that the recipe is looking for an emulsion rather than simply a starch thickened sauce. I am putting the cod to soak today and will attempt this dish later in the week after 3 days soaking.
 

Orangeapron

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Thank you for your reply. Its very useful to know that the recipe is looking for an emulsion rather than simply a starch thickened sauce. I am putting the cod to soak today and will attempt this dish later in the week after 3 days soaking.
Remember, the temperature is the key. The cod, well dried after soaked never has to boil very hot to be able to free the albumin (in a scale from 1 to 10 around 6 or 7 just bubbling) and even lower after that to start emulsify it (around 3 or 4). If the pot gets or keeps very hot, you can get it off the fire and keep shaking it on the countertop.It is also important not to start wit very much oil ( not also very few) but you can add more if you want, when you get the first emulsified, just keep shaking and adding to it more olive oil. Yo do it carefully, like you do with mayonnaise. And I would only add a bit of warm water, if the sauce gets too much thick to get a lighter texture.
If the cod is very thick you have to cook it both sides, and before you start cooking it, it's worth to take a pinch of it and taste it, sometimes it still salty, so it needs a bit of more time and water.
The movement to get the emulsion, works good over a smooth surface in circles, then the pieces of cod will be hitting ones against others and against the walls of the pot too, so it favours both: the free of the albumin and the emulsion. If you work with gas, surely you will have to emulsify it on the countertop or a board which is able to stand with the hot of the pot. Believe me, it could look complicated, but it's only matter of having a real good salt cod and a good olive oil, if both have the quality, it will be really easy.
 
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Morning Glory

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Remember, the temperature is the key. The cod, well dried after soaked never has to boil very hot to be able to free the albumin (in a scale from 1 to 10 around 6 or 7 just bubbling) and even lower after that to start emulsify it (around 3 or 4). If the pot gets or keeps very hot, you can get it off the fire and keep shaking it on the countertop.It is also important not to start wit very much oil ( not also very few) but you can add more if you want, when you get the first emulsified, just keep shaking and adding to it more olive oil. Yo do it carefully, like you do with mayonnaise. And I would only add a bit of warm water, if the sauce gets too much thick to get a lighter texture.
If the cod is very thick you have to cook it both sides, and before you start cooking it, it's worth to take a pinch of it and taste it, sometimes it still salty, so it needs a bit of more time and water.
The movement to get the emulsion, works good over a smooth surface in circles, then the pieces of cod will be hitting ones against others and against the walls of the pot too, so it favours both: the free of the albumin and the emulsion. If you work with gas, surely you will have to emulsify it on the countertop or a board which is able to stand with the hot of the pot. Believe me, it could look complicated, but it's only matter of having a real good salt cod and a good olive oil, if both have the quality, it will be really easy.

Thank you. What you are saying makes sense and I'm familiar with how to make an emulsion so I will be as careful as you say. My only fear is that this salt cod might have no bones. I couldn't tell from the pack or from looking at the fish which was obviously quite dry and hard. If it has no bones should I continue or make something else?
 

Orangeapron

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Thank you. What you are saying makes sense and I'm familiar with how to make an emulsion so I will be as careful as you say. My only fear is that this salt cod might have no bones. I couldn't tell from the pack or from looking at the fish which was obviously quite dry and hard. If it has no bones should I continue or make something else?
There is no any problem with having bones or not. It is said that the most of the gelatine is between the skin and the flesh.
 

Timenspace

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Remember, the temperature is the key. The cod, well dried after soaked never has to boil very hot to be able to free the albumin (in a scale from 1 to 10 around 6 or 7 just bubbling) and even lower after that to start emulsify it (around 3 or 4). If the pot gets or keeps very hot, you can get it off the fire and keep shaking it on the countertop.It is also important not to start wit very much oil ( not also very few) but you can add more if you want, when you get the first emulsified, just keep shaking and adding to it more olive oil. Yo do it carefully, like you do with mayonnaise. And I would only add a bit of warm water, if the sauce gets too much thick to get a lighter texture.
If the cod is very thick you have to cook it both sides, and before you start cooking it, it's worth to take a pinch of it and taste it, sometimes it still salty, so it needs a bit of more time and water.
The movement to get the emulsion, works good over a smooth surface in circles, then the pieces of cod will be hitting ones against others and against the walls of the pot too, so it favours both: the free of the albumin and the emulsion. If you work with gas, surely you will have to emulsify it on the countertop or a board which is able to stand with the hot of the pot. Believe me, it could look complicated, but it's only matter of having a real good salt cod and a good olive oil, if both have the quality, it will be really easy.
That is exactly how I would do it. It sounds like a good and expertly advice. Thank you!
 
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