Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Salt Cod Purée
(Pebrots de Piquillo Farcits amb Brandada)
This recipe comes from Catalan Cuisine (Collier Books, 1992), by former SAVEUR editor Colman Andrews.
FOR THE BRANDADA:
1 lb. salt cod
1 bay leaf
4 russet potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup mild, extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE PEPPERS:
16–24 piquillo peppers
Extra-virgin olive oil
1. For the brandada: Soak salt cod in water to cover in a large bowl in the refrigerator for 48 hours, changing the water 3–4 times a day. Cut fish into several pieces, place in a large pan with cold water to cover, add bay leaf, and bring to just below the boiling point on medium heat. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside for about 10 minutes. Transfer fish to a plate and set aside to cool. Remove any skin or bones from cooled fish, then flake the flesh with a fork. Mix fish and potatoes together in a large bowl, mashing vigorously with a fork. Beat in garlic. Add oil bit by bit, beating it into the mixture slowly until the brandada has absorbed it all and has the consistency of a coarse purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. For the peppers: Preheat oven to 350°. Fill peppers with brandada, using a small spoon and taking care not to tear the flesh. Place the filled peppers on their sides in a lightly oiled baking dish just large enough to hold them. Bake peppers for about 20 minutes, or until filling is heated through.