Easter: see how to save on cod – 03/25/2024 – Food

Easter: see how to save on cod – 03/25/2024 – Food


This year, the Easter menu promises to be savory for those who don’t give up cod and olive oil – and for a number of reasons.

Norway, our largest cod supplier, is facing a significant reduction in fish populations, which helps explain the rise in global prices.

According to Randi Bolstad, director of the Norwegian Fisheries Council in Brazil, 2024 is the second year in a row in which the quota of fish that can be caught in the Norwegian Sea is reduced, with the aim of recovering the stock – it went from 300 thousand tons to 220 thousand tons.

The shortage of olive oil in Europe due to drought, especially in Spain, the largest producer in the world, is also at the root of the price explosion here.

Added to all this, we have the proximity of Holy Week, when the increase in demand is our old acquaintance.

This year, anyone who insists on tall, white loins of the noblest species, the Gadus Morhua Norwegian, you will have to pay up to R$150 per kilo. But there are good ways to save money, without giving up cod.

“In oven or grilled recipes, in which the loin is served whole, it even pays to invest in the Gadus Morhua. But it doesn’t make any sense to spend so much to prepare shredded cod dishes”, says chef Renata Braune, professor at Atelier Gourmand Escola de Cozinha.

This category includes some of the recipes most loved by Brazilians, such as bacalhau à brás, bacalhau rice, spiritual bacalhau and bacalhau com natas, all capable of making a great family lunch.

The chef suggests buying the fish already shredded and still salted, which can cost less than half the price. In general, the little trays contain shavings from the Gadus morhua or the Gadus macrocephalusalso known as Pacific cod, imported from Alaska – and even cheaper.

“Another advantage is desalting, which is much quicker in the case of shredded cod. It can be resolved in up to two hours, you don’t even need to change the water”, teaches the chef.

Although they cannot be sold as cod, other salty fish from Norway – ling (Molva Molva), the saithe (Pollachius virens) and the zarbo (brosme brosme)– are also good choices that cost up to 40% less.

Just like authentic cod, all three go through a natural drying and salting process and perform well in recipes. The difference is in the thickness of the fish, which does not yield such large portions; in color, not so light; and in flavor, a little stronger.

In the book “Bacalhau – Recipes and Stories from Águas Geladas à Caçarolas” (ed. DBA), chef Heloísa Bacellar argues that, among the three, ling comes out ahead in terms of flavor, texture and use. “The steaks are tall and beautiful, the meat is very white and separates into soft, moist and delicious slabs, which don’t look bad in oven, pan or frying recipes.”

Although more fibrous and not as beautiful, the other two species have their value, according to Renata Braune. “Saithe, as it is a little darker, is excellent for risottos and salads. Zarbo, whose flavor is more powerful, goes well in dumplings and stews that use more seasoning.”

In the kitchens of restaurants in São Paulo, it is difficult to find a professional who admits to using any species other than Gadus morhua. But the Portuguese have no problem with that.

One of the most respected chefs in Portugal, Vítor Sobral, owner of the restaurant Tasca da Esquina, in São Paulo, says in his book, “As Minhas Recipes de Bacalhau” (ed. Senac), that his countrymen use the entire family of salted fish . And they don’t waste a single cut – flaps, tail and even the tongue are used.

“The special cuts are for grilled or oven-baked dishes. The smaller ones we normally use for shredding or chipping”, he tells Sheet.

At the Tasquinha da Serra restaurant, in Serra da Cantareira, the couple Danilo Ribeiro and Mafalda Oliveira even prefer the Gadus macrocephalus for recipes that use shredded or flaked fish, such as the handjob portion (R$75) and cod à gomes de sá, a popular favorite (R$85).

“O Gadus morhua It’s so soft and delicate in flavor that it practically disappears in these dishes. Customers complain, they say there’s not enough cod,” says Ribeiro.

The use of shredded trimmings is common practice even in high-end establishments, such as the A Bela Sintra restaurant, where a dish such as spiritual cod, in an individual portion, costs R$171.

Chef of the house, Patricia Bettencourt reveals the trick to make shredded cod juicy. “I put it in a pan with water, peppercorns, bay leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. After a slight boil, it’s delicious.”

The powerful flavor of cod also helps save money – a small amount is enough to prepare many delicious recipes. Renata Braune is a fan of cod stew, a kind of basic recipe that uses little olive oil and can be used in several other preparations.

Simply sauté the shredded cod in onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, finely chopped skinless tomato, pepper (for those who like it), herbs to taste and dry white wine.

“From this stew, I make risotto, arroz caldoso, Escondidinho, oven-baked rice and even pasta.”


Source link