In a nod to Christian André Pettersen’s bronze award at the 2021 Bocuse d’Or competition, where chefs had to create and execute three courses highlighting the tomato (including a dessert!), here is a tomato-based stew recipe.
1 1/2 (1/2 kg) pounds salted and dried cod, bacalao
2 pounds (1 kg) potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 large yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 cans tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
1 pound (1/2 kg) canned pimientos, drained and cut into ½-inch (1 cm) slices
4 to 6 garlic cloves, sliced or crushed
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup (1/2 dl) chopped fresh parsley
1 to 2 dried hot red chiles, chopped and seeded
10 black peppercorns
1 1/2 cups (3 1/2 dl) olive oil
Soak the salted cod in a large pot of water for 24 – 36 hours, this will vary depending on how dry the cod is, until the fish is softened. Make sure that you change the water at least twice during the softening process to help remove some of the salt.
Remove/drain the cod from the pot and cut it into 2-inch chunks.
Wash and rinse the pot you used for the cod.
In the large pot, layer the potatoes, onions and chunks of cod. Next add in the garlic, bay leaves, pimientos, tomatoes, chiles, olive oil, peppercorns and two-thirds of the chopped parsley. Place this on the stove to simmer for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 45 minutes. Shake the pot every 10-15 minutes. DO NOT STIR, this will make the fish fall apart in the soup.
Serve the bacalao stew in bowls, garnish with the rest of the parsley and serve with a nice crusty bread.