The following is a recipe from a guest blogger, my foodie friend Frank. He’s made it for me. It’s amazing!!!
I was not a big fan of brunch until about ten years ago. At the time I was working in an in international organization, and was heading a department responsible for delivering development assistance to a number of southern African countries, including Portuguese-speaking Angola and Mozambique. Consequently, I had several Portuguese colleagues working with me, and I very much appreciated their work and their company.
I was therefore very happy to accept an invitation from one of them to a Portuguese brunch one Sunday morning, but with little notion of what I might be eating. Two of the dishes served that day proved to be delightful revelations, and I have been happily recreating them for myself and, by popular demand, for family and friends ever since. I’ll describe one of the dishes in this post, and the other at a later date.
This first dish combines the unique flavor and textured of salt cod, with French fries and lightly scrambled eggs. The recipe is based on the verbal description given to me by my Portuguese host that morning, and my apologies to any readers familiar with the dish if my method breaks any established rules or traditions. I can only say this method works well, is pretty painless to cook, and has always been pronounced delicious.
A Brunch Revelation: Bacalao a Bras
- About 1 lb of salt cod (you can find in the frozen fish sections of good supermarkets. Various brands were available when we lived in the east. Here on the west coast the most common brand is packed in a distinctive wooden box)
- One large yellow onion, finely sliced
- One package (about 1lb or slightly less) matchstick or shoestring fries (we find shoestring work best)
- Six to twelve eggs depending on numbers (I work on two to three eggs per person)
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Pitted olives for garnish (green or black or both)
- Milk and water mixed for poaching the salt cod
- Two bay leaves and a few black peppercorns
- Ground black pepper
- About three tablespoons olive oil
- 48 to 36 hours before cooking, unpack the salt cod, rinse off the salt coating under running water, and place the cod in a bowl of fresh water and leave in fridge. You should aim to change the water at least three times before cooking.
- Place the rinsed cod in a saucepan on top of two bay leaves and about seven peppercorns. Cover the cod with a half milk/half water mixture and bring to a simmer to poach for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool and flake when cooled. Save about one quarter cup of cooking liquid.
- Prepare fries according to instructions. They do not need to go into the final cooking hot as they’ll be reheated.
- In a frying pan gently cook the sliced onions to soften but preferably not brown. Can be done ahead and then re-heated for final cooking.
- Beat the eggs with black pepper (you probably won’t need salt) and mix in the reserved cooking liquid from the cod.
- Over a medium heat stir the fries and the salt cod into the onion mixture until all heated through. Up the heat a little then tip in the egg mixture and rapidly scramble, being careful not to overcook the eggs or they can become rubbery. The eggs should still be quite runny when you take them off the heat, as they will continue cooking in the pan.
A simple green salad goes well with the dish.
This recipe will serve four to six people, but this is not a dish that can be successfully re-heated, so adjust your cod, potatoes and eggs if only cooking for two or three, so that the dish will be finished when freshly cooked.