Teresa Parker blogs about restaurants, recipes, and the reasons why she's in love with Spain's food and culture.
I have craved this salad off and on since my friend Juani's mother from Granada made it for a winter picnic ten years ago. We set ourselves up in a clearing just above the town of Rupit (in the province of Barcelona, all cobblestones and 16th century stone houses built into steep rocky hills -- worth a visit). It was Christmas day, so the air was cool but the sun was bright and somehow that combination of warmth and refreshment seemed perfectly expressed in what we were eating: juicy oranges, salty cod, tart green olives, a little heat from a red onion, a touch of richness from a hard boiled egg.
In Granada a couple of weeks ago I finally got another mouthful of these flavors. Francisco at El Olivo (about whom and which more later) makes a version of Remojón that includes smoked cod instead of the usual de-salted bacalao -- a divine innovation, though I haven't found the smoked cod in the U.S. yet. In Spain it's now marketed in slices like those packages of smoked salmon are here. You could also make this salad with good Spanish tuna packed in olive oil.
But if you've ever wondered what to do with those thinner parts of a salt cod fillet, here's your answer. And there's really nothing to prepping it.
Soak what you're going to use in a bowl of cold water, keeping it in the fridge and changing the water every day for 2 or 3 days. Just taste it as you go for saltiness (it's cured, after all). When it's ready, take it out of the water, pat it dry, and, for this salad anyway, tear it into bite size pieces.
6 oranges, skin and white pith trimmed off
3 hard boiled eggs, chilled, peeled, and sliced lengthwise into quarters
8 oz. salt cod, desalted in cold water, as described above, and torn into bites
6-8 thin slices of red onion, or 6-8 scallions, chopped
1/2 C cracked green olives, pits removed
Dressing ingredients: good olive oil, sherry vinegar, paprika, fresh black pepper
Optional: a handful of fresh mint, minced
Arrange sections or slices of well-trimmed oranges on salad plates. Tuck in pieces of cod and slices of hard-boiled egg.
Sprinkle with scallions or scatter with rings of red onion. Strew olives on top.
Drizzle each salad with a healthy pour of olive oil, then a few drops of sherry vinegar, a pinch of paprika and a grind of pepper. Garnish with the mint.