Bacalao is Spanish for cod fish. Salt cod is a staple of the Spanish diet, even though refrigeration has eliminated the need to salt fish to preserve it. Salt cod is especially popular in central and northern Spain and is often served in Spanish homes and restaurants, especially during Lent and Christmas. For thousands of years, fish was caught and preserved with salt, so it could be consumed at a later date. Ruins of Roman fish processing facilities can still be seen in villages along the Mediterranean coastline.
Cod is one of the most popular fish in Europe. Cookbooks from the various regions are filled with a wide variety of cod dishes, particularly the Basque Country. Salty, dry cod must be soaked in water for 24 to 36 hours before cooking, and the water must be changed two to three times. After leaching the salt out, the cod can be cooked in many ways—fried, boiled, or simmered in sauce to name a few. Below are the top bacalao tapas recipes.
01 of 02
02 of 02
An outstanding tapa from Northern Spain, this stuffed pepper dish is very popular. Sweet and tasty roasted piquillo peppers are first stuffed with a mixture of salt cod, white wine, onions, and garlic. Then, they are dipped in egg and flour and lightly fried. Finally, they are bathed in tomato sauce. It is worth the hour that it takes to prepare this tapa!