Bacalhau com Natas

Bacalhau com Natas "Cod with Cream"
Recipe by Dragon

They say that the Portuguese have 365 recipes for cod; one for every day of the year. We do love our cod and especially salt cod. This dish takes salt cod and combines it with fried potatoes, onions and a rich cream sauce. This is one of my favourite ways to prepare cod.

Salt cod is cod preserved in salt. It lasts a long time and is very portable but you must prepare it before using it. The first step in using salt cod is to soak it for at least 24 hours in cold water to remove the salt and plump the fish up. Change the water every 8 hours. The only way to make sure you don't have salty cod is to taste it. If it tastes too salty than keep soaking if for another few hours. There are some recipes that suggest you soak the salt cod in milk but I find that uncessary and a waste of good milk. Soak the cod in plenty of cold water and it will be fine.  Enjoy!

Serves: 6


Béchamel Sauce:
 3 tablespoons butter
 4 1/2 tablespoons flour
 3 cups whole milk, hot
 1 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon pepper
 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

 1 pound salted cod pieces (soaked in water for at least 24 hours)
 Vegetable oil for frying
 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cut into small cubes
 Salt and pepper to taste
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
 2 bay leaves
 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
 1/4 cup dry white wine
 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
 1/4 - 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. First make the béchamel sauce. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add butter and let it melt. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and keep stirring for 2 minutes.

2. Add the hot milk and stir to combine. Keep stirring as the mixture thickens. Take off the heat

3. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Keep warm.

4. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

5. In a large pot over medium high heat, add cod and enough water to cover the cod by 2 inches. Remove the cod and bring the water to a boil. Add the cod and boil it for 3-5 minutes. Drain the cod and let it cool for 5 minutes or until you can handle it with your hands. Remove and discard the skin and bones. Flake the remaining cod flesh and reserve.

6. In a deep frying pan over medium high heat, add 2 inches of vegetable oil. Bring the oil temperature up to 360°F. Adjust the heat to keep the temperature at 360°F while frying. When the oil is ready, add the potatoes and fry (in batches) until they are golden. They don't need to be fully cooked because they will finish cooking in the oven. Transfer the potatoes to a paper towel lined tray to absorb any excess oil. Sprinkle potatoes with a little salt and pepper.

7. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter and heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes or until they are softened. Add garlic, cayenne, bay leaves, lemon zest, lemon juice and wine. Cook for 5 minutes then add the reserved cod. Remove bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper but remember the cod is salty so you won't need much.

8. To a medium casserole dish, spread 1/2 of the cod mixture onto the bottom. Cover cod with 1/2 the fried potatoes.  Repeat with another layer of cod followed by another layer of potatoes.

9. Pour the warm béchamel over the top. Make sure that the top is completely covered with the béchamel. Pour the cream over the top and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

10. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the casserole is golden. Allow casserole to cool for 10 minutes and top with chopped parsley. Serve with a green salad.


Unknown said...

Lady Jane's rascally crew will be in Waterloo. "When?" You say! In two days time. The 7th of June. :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

My future inlaws are Portuguese so I have probably had cod in at least 3 different ways so far. This recipe looks creamy and delicious.

Keith D said...

Just looking at variations of the recipe as my wife makes this every Christmas eve and its delicious! Check out her version here:

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