Frustrated by the bother and uncertainty of soaking, desalting, and rehydrating dried salt cod in several changes of water over many hours, chefs like Gérard Fouché have taken to salting their own fresh cod. It allows them to have better control over the quality of the fish and the quantity of the salt. Overnight salting gives fresh cod a firmer texture that holds together better when wrapped with ham. Fouché suggests serving the ham-wrapped house-salted cod fillets over eggs pipérade (page 139 of the book).
4 skinless codfish fillets, 6 to 7 ounces each
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon piment d'Espelette
or ancho powder or other medium-hot chili powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 thin slices country ham
The day before you plan to serve: Season the cod fillets on both sides with salt and piment d'Espelette. Place a couple of small plates upside down over a serving plate or tray, lay the fillets over the plates (this will allow the liquid to drain off), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the salted cod fillets and cook just until lightly golden, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels.
Working with one slice at a time, spread out the ham, lay a cod fillet over the ham, and roll it, tucking the end of the ham under itself to hold it in place, and transfer to a baking pan. Repeat with the remaining fillets. Place in the oven and bake until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve atop eggs pipérade, potatoes, or rice.
The Bistros, Brasseries, and Wine Bars of Paris
Everyday Recipes from the Real Paris
by Daniel Young
William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers
Hardcover; 224pp; $24.95
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created September 2006
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