Bacalao al pil-pil

Bacalao al pil-pil

At the table

By
From
Basque
Serves
4
Photographer
Laura Edwards

Pil-pil is an emulsion made from the gelatine of the fish and the infused oil – it may sound unusual, but it’s heavenly. It’s not an easy one to do, but it will make you happy when you’re eating it, so I think it’s worth it.

The important thing here is that you keep the temperature of the oil at around 80°C. You may also need to add cold water to the gelatine to help the emulsion to mix properly.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 pieces of salt cod, 150 g each
1 dried chilli
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
handful chopped parsley

Method

  1. Soak the cod in cold water, skin side up, for 24 hours, changing the water a couple of times.
  2. The next day, check that the cod is desalted, choosing a bit from the inside, then remove any bones and dry properly.
  3. Clean the chilli inside by taking out all the seeds, put in water to rehydrate and slice into small rings. Heat the oil in a terracotta dish or a heavy-based pan big enough to accommodate the pieces of fish. Over a medium heat, fry the garlic and chilli until golden, then remove from the oil and reserve.
  4. Place the cod pieces in the oil with the skin up and cook over a medium-low heat, never frying. When you can see the gelatine coming out of the fish, turn over and cook for a bit longer. The total cooking time for the fish should be about 20 minutes. When the fish is cooked, take out and set aside in a warm place.
  5. Take the terracotta dish off the heat and leave to cool a little. When the oil is around 80°C, use a small whisk to whisk the gelatine by making constant circular motions. You should get a nice thick and silky emulsion.
  6. Put the cod back into the sauce, followed by the garlic and chilli. Garnish with the parsley and eat hot.
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