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One Cook's Best Dish

Baked salt cod (bacalhau)

(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
July 27, 2011

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Serves 6

3 pounds salt cod
5 to 6 large russet potatoes (unpeeled)
5 eggs in their shells
1 1/2 cups best-quality olive oil (preferably Portuguese)
1 can (6 ounces) ripe black olives, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large, deep bowl, soak the salt cod in water to cover for at least 10 hours and up to 48 hours, changing the water every few hours. Drain well.

2. In a large, deep pot, layer the potatoes, eggs, and cod, in that order. Fill the pot with water (the fish need not be completely submerged). Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender.

3. Drain the mixture and transfer the cod to a colander. Place the eggs and potatoes in separate bowls until cool enough to handle.

4. Use your fingers to remove any skin or bones from the cod and break it into small chunks and flakes; it should be fairly fine, with pieces no larger than about 1 inch. Peel the potatoes and the eggs, and slice both 1/8-inch thick.

5. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

6. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on the baking dish, tilting to coat the bottom. Lay potato slices in a single layer to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cod. Lay 1/4 of the egg on top, sprinkle with 1/4 of the olives, and 1/4 of the parsley. Drizzle 1/3 cup of the olive oil over the dish. Repeat layering in this way until all the ingredients are used, ending with olives and parsley; drizzle with remaining olive oil.

7. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until olive oil is bubbling at the edges.

Adapted from Joe Cordeiro