Bacalao

Recipe courtesy of Robert Springs and Anny Francisco

Photo by: Nicholas Moo

Nicholas Moo

This is Robert’s version of bacalao, a traditional dish from Anny’s home country the Dominican Republic. Bacalao also refers to the name of the cod or pollock that has been heavily salted for preservation and then is boiled for several minutes, or soaked in water for a couple of hours then boiled, to release the salt before preparing. What makes this dish so tasty is a classic seasoning blend called sofrito, or what Robert calls “green magic.” He likes to serve the bacalao with rice, and Anny adds a side of her spiced black beans.

Yield: 4 servings

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ease of preparation: Easy

SOFRITO (GREEN MAGIC):

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • Kosher salt

BACALAO:

  • 2 pounds salted pollock or cod (bacalao)
  • 2 to 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sofrito (above)
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped

RICE AND BEANS:

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Sazon seasoning, such as by Goya
  • Sea salt
  • Chicken bouillon cube, optional

DIRECTIONS:

For the sofrito: Add the onion to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the garlic, bell pepper and cilantro and season with kosher salt. Blend until finely chopped. Reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of the sofrito for the bacalao and save the remaining for another use (see Cook’s Note).

For the bacalao: Place the fish in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Gently add the whole eggs. Simmer until the fish is tender but not falling apart, 10 to 20 minutes. Drain, rinse the fish well and gently break apart using a fork.

Rinse the eggs under cool water, then peel and chop.

In a large bowl, Add the bacalao, chopped eggs, avocado and sofrito to a large bowl and mix until combined.

For the rice and beans: While the fish and eggs are cooking, combine 2 cups of water with the rice in a medium saucepan and season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook over low heat until tender and all water is absorbed, about 17 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the beans and cook, stirring, until warmed through. Add a little water as necessary to keep the beans from being too dry. Season with sazon, sea salt and chicken bouillon cube if using.

Serve the bacalao mixture with the rice and beans alongside.

Cook’s Note: The remaining sofrito will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use it to season soups, stews, black beans and even rice, or rub it onto chicken or fish before roasting or grilling.

Note: A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. It has not been tested for home use.