Bacalao

Bacalao

Bacalao has been a nutritious staple of the Norwegian diet since Vikings roamed the seas. Long a major export of the North Atlantic region, today it is still a staple of Mediterranean, South American, Caribbean and West African cuisines. 

Origin

Produced for over 500 years, bacalao is made from Norwegian Cod, one of the most abundant and sustainable stocks in the world. 

  • Availability: Year-round
  • Types of cod:
      • Bacalao (Clipfish) — preserved by salting then drying
      • Stockfish — preserved by drying without salting

Producing Bacalao:

  • To create bacalao, Norwegian Cod is gutted, cleaned, washed and skinned.
  • Originally, the fish were then flattened out and stacked-with layers of salt between each fish to aid the maturing process-to dry for over 2-3 weeks.
  • Today, the salted fish is left to dry indoors in special hot air dryers from February to April, but generations ago, the cod would have been left on rocks to dry naturally.
  • Salt quality directly impacts the quality of the bacalao. Therefore, Norwegians use only fresh, clean salt throughout the process. In fact, it is illegal to reuse salt once it has been used to make Bacalao.
  • Bacalao can also be made from frozen cod, allowing for year-round production.
  • To ensure consistent, high-quality bacalao is exported all over the world, Norway has strict managing and monitoring processes.

Taste and Texture:

      • Delicate texture
      • Mature, delicious flavor
      • Distinctive pale yellow color

 Handling and Storage:

  • Most bacalao is sold skinless and boneless, for easiest handling.
  • Whole skinless, boneless fillets of varying thickness are available in large crates. 
  • Bacalao is also often packed in small wooden boxes containing folded fillets.
  • Bacalao will remain safe in the refrigerator almost indefinitely.
  • Bacalao must be soaked before eating.

Nutritional Information:

Preserving bacalao is a tasty way to lock in all of the natural nutrition of fresh cod for a later date. It’s a good source of:

      • Protein
      • Vitamin D

How to Prepare:

Bacalao is a very versatile protein. Common preparation methods include:

  • Fried
  • Pureed
  • Braised
  • Stew
  • Poached