This is a classic but surprising dish -- juicy loin steaks of salt cod served in a very flavorsome, gelatinous white sauce that is the result of slowly emulsifying the oil with the albumin in the cod skin.
Makes 4 servings.
Prep Time: 15 min. plus soaking time
Cook Time: 30 min.
1 -1/2 lb salt cod
1 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
4 rings of chili pepper
1 bunch parsley (optional)
Salt, if necessary
Cut the cod into even-sized pieces and leave to soak for 36 hours, changing the water every eight hours. Drain and remove the bones.
Fry two whole garlic cloves and place in a mortar. In the same oil, fry the other garlic clove thinly sliced and the chili pepper rings (after first soaking so that when cut they do not break). Leave the oil to cool down then add the pieces of cod with the skin upwards.
Place the dish over a low flame and shake gently with semicircular movements. When the sauce is almost white, add the fried garlic cloves crushed together with the parsley and two or three tablespoons of water. Continue to shake the dish gently until the sauce thickens. If the cod is of good quality, the oil should start to turn white after a few minutes of shaking and the sauce should bind after 15-20 minutes.
A good trick for making sure your pil-pil sauce amalgamates is to remove some of the oil when it is turning white and whizz it a little in the blender. Or try trickling 2 tbsp milk down the side of the dish while shaking it.
Recipe courtesy of Spain GourmeTour magazine.