Cod is commonly associated with Portuguese kitchen, but it's hard not to notice its presence in neighbouring Spain, where many traditional dishes are also based on that fish. A dish called bacalao a la tranca is a culinary classic in a little-known by tourists province Zamora in Castile and Leon. This dish is essentially a fried cod with ajada (a sauce made with fried slices of garlic and smoked paprika (pimentón)) and is often served with potatoes and finely chopped hard-boiled eggs. It's prepared mostly during Holy Week period, dominated in Spain by this kind of fish. Today's recipe inspired by a recipe from delicious blog mercadocalabajilo.com, apart from a typical ajada also contains roasted red peppers.
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 red bell peppers
2 portions of cod fillets (fresh or salted)
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
100 ml fish broth or water
flour for coating the fish before frying (optional)
If you use salted cod, soaked it in cold water for at least 36 hours or until desalinated, changing the water several times (the time depends on the size of the pieces of fish). After this time, drain the portions of fish and dry them with paper towels (do not remove the skin). Wash the bell peppers and dry them with paper towels, then place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast at 200ºC for about 45 minutes or until the peppers are wrinkled and their skin burnt a little in some places. When cooled down, remove the cores and peel the peppers, then cut them into thin strips. Reserve the resulting liquid.
Wash the cod fillets and dry them with paper towels. Season with salt and coat them in flour (optional). Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fish pieces on it. Once the fish fillets are fried, remove them from the pan and pour off any excess oil, leaving only about 2 tablespoons of it. Heat the remaining olive oil. Add thinly sliced garlic and fry for a few minutes, until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and add the smoked paprika. Mix well and then add the hot fish broth or water and the liquid resulting from roasting the peppers. Stir well and then add the fried pieces of fish and the strips of peppers. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-8 minutes. Serve with potatoes (boiled or mashed) and sprinkle with chopped parsley and/or finely chopped hard-boiled egg.