With its tricky preparation and slightly funky aroma, salt cod doesn’t always win fans on the first go. But this preserved fish is a mainstay in cuisines from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia to the place of chef George Mendes’ ancestors, Portugal. And when treated right, it’s one of the best ways to get a little seafood into everything you cook.
Here Mendes, the man behind New York’s Lupulo and celebrated Aldea, shows us how to make our very own salt cod using fresh fish. Why DIY? “When making your own salt cod,” he says, “you can add seasonings like fresh zest of citrus, coriander seed, or white pepper, so it becomes a whole different level of flavor.” The cure itself is quite easy, and once you have it, you can make Mendes’ almost-as-easy salt cod casserole with sliced potatoes, eggs, and loads of olive oil.