Welcome, bienvenida as they say in Spain... to our maiden voyage of "Food of the World." I don't know about you but I was overwhelmed with the number of regions and cuisine choice that are available in Spain. But it all seemed to boil down to seafood, pork, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers... Would you agree?
My family loves cod and I know that in Spain they make a lot of dishes with bacalao or salted and dried cod. My grandparents from Southern Italy also made dishes with this fish, but I find it hard to rehydrate and really not worth the trouble. If you live in an area where you can't get fresh cod I would recommend it, but I live on the Atlantic and cod is always available.
I based my recipe on a dish from Catalonia, a region of Eastern Spain called, "Bacalao con Samfaina" which is a stew made with salted cod pieces in a ratatouille. I really wanted to take advantage of the fresh eggplant and zucchini that I can get this time of year and I was very pleased with how tasty it turned out.
My side potato dish is based on how potatoes are roasted in many area's of Spain. My kids were gaga over these potatoes...big hit! I don't think they are typical of one region. If you know better than me please leave me a note.
I can't wait to check out your dishes... let the feast begin!
Spanish Cod with Ratatouille
by Diane Balch
preparation: 30 minutes serves: 4
4 small cod fillets about 2 inches thick
1 tablespoon melted butter
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 zucchini chopped
1 small eggplant peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of anchovy paste
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a large baking pan with oil.
2) In a large skillet on medium high heat saute the vegetables. Starting with the denser ones. Chop and add the vegetables in this order: onions, peppers, then zucchini and eggplant. Add garlic last, you do not want to brown it.
3) When the vegetables wilt turn the heat off but leave the skillet on the burner. Whisk tomato paste with the anchovy paste and mix it into the ratbyatouille. Check taste before you add salt (anchovy paste is very salty) add pepper. Set aside.
4) Put cod in the baking pan. Brush each piece with butter, salt and pepper. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Then broil for 2 minutes if you want the top to brown. You need to watch the fish carefully.
5) Remove fish from oven it is done if it is opaque all the way through and the very end of the fish flakes a little.
6) Plate the cod and top with ratatouille. Delicious served with a side of Spanish potatoes or saffron rice.
by Diane Balch
preparation time: 10 minutes Serves: 4 to 6
4 Russet potatoes (or any other kind) chopped
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon of regular or smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh flat leaf parsley minced
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2) In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, tomato paste, garlic and paprika
3) Mix potatoes with oil paste mixture and spread out in a large baking dish.
4) Roast for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and a few are browned.
5) Just before serving sprinkle the potatoes with the parsley and drizzle the vinegar over them, mix well.
Note: If you are making these potatoes with the cod dish. Put them in the the 400 degree oven 20 minutes before the cod goes in and they should be ready about the same time as the cod.
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The next country we will be visiting is POLAND.
Why you may ask? Because apple season is upon us.
The most popular fruit tree in Poland is apple, growing in commercial orchards and home gardens. With an annual production of 2.5 million tons, Poland is the top producer of apples in Europe.
So you might want to try your hand at a Polish apple dish or some kelibaso, beet or barley soup... or maybe a cabbage dish.
See you back here on: OCTOBER 8TH
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