Bacalhau à brás
Recreate this Bacalhau à brás, an impressive Portuguese cod dish brought to you by Joia at Art’otel in London’s Battersea Power Station
- Serves: 2 persons
- 100g salt cod
- 100g black pitted olives, drained
- 160ml vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp
- 1small onion, finely sliced (about 50g)
- 400ml olive oil
- 1small potato, peeled (about 60g)
- 1egg, plus 2 egg yolks
- small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Step 1Soak the cod in cold water for 10 hrs, making sure it’s fully submerged. Change the water three times during this time.
Step 2Heat the oven to 120C/100C fan/gas ½. Put the olives on a baking tray and bake for 3 hrs-3 hrs 15 mins, shaking the tray occasionally until the olives are firm and dried out. Set aside to cool, then transfer to a mini blender and blitz until finely broken down – avoid over-processing so it doesn’t become a paste.
Step 3Heat 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over a low-medium heat and cook the onion with a generous pinch of salt for 30 mins until soft and lightly golden, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. If the onions start to catch, add a splash of water and mix well. Once cooked, set aside.
Step 4Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the cod, pat dry using kitchen paper, then transfer to a small pan and cover with the olive oil. Set over a low heat and gently simmer for 18-20 mins – if the oil starts to bubble, reduce the heat further. When ready, the fish should be tender and easy to flake. Transfer the fish to a plate lined with kitchen paper using a slotted spoon, and leave to drain.
Step 5Cut the potato into strips using a julienne peeler, then plunge into a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 15 mins before draining and rinsing – this will help remove any excess starch. Put the potato strips between sheets of kitchen paper and gently pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible. Heat the remaining 160ml of vegetable oil in a medium pan to 140C. Fry the potatoes in two batches for 3-4 mins per batch, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
Step 6Lightly beat the egg with 1 egg yolk, seasoning lightly. Flake the fish and mix with the onions and half of the fried potatoes. Heat a large frying pan over a low-medium heat and cook the fish mixture for 2-3 mins or until just warmed through. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, then stir in the egg and cook briefly until the egg is moist but not visibly runny or wet. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the remaining potato strips and two-thirds of the parsley. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed – remember the cod is salted.
Step 7Put a 12cm cooking ring in the centre of a serving plate. Spoon in the mixture and pat down using the back of the spoon, creating a slight dip in the centre. Remove the ring and carefully add the remaining egg yolk to the centre. Carefully sprinkle the olive crumb and remaining parsley around the edge of the bacalhau à brás, then serve.