I have this one last citrus dish to sneak in here at the tail end of the season. This is from an article I cut from Delicious magazine two years ago, and the recipe is included on Taste.com. It’s one of those salads that look so pretty in the photo you know it’s going to taste great. I can’t help but be drawn to food like that. With several colors on a plate, there’s bound be a good mix of flavors as well. In this case, there are sweet, brightly-colored orange segments, briny and dark, black olives, pale and mild, soaked salt cod, peppery, pretty, green watercress, and some bite from skinny slices of red onion. I know some people fear that salt cod is going to be stinky or difficult to prep, but it really isn’t. I buy salt cod at Whole Foods that comes in a little wood box, and there’s no smell at all when it’s opened. I soak it in a bowl of cold water covered with plastic wrap that I leave in the refrigerator, and I change the water each day while soaking the fish for three days. The kind I buy is boneless and mostly skinless, so there’s very little work involved other than soaking. Once the salt is removed by soaking, the flavor is mild just like cooked fresh cod.
So, you do have to plan ahead when working with salt cod since it does need to be soaked for two to three days to remove the salt. For this dish, after the salt cod had soaked for a few days, it was then simmered in milk with parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaves. After the milk with herbs and salt cod came to a boil, it was left to sit, off the heat, to infuse for about 15 minutes. Then, the fish was removed and chilled in the refrigerator. While the fish chilled, the vinaigrette was made with garlic, sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and orange juice. To build the salad, chunks of the salt cod, thinly sliced red onion, orange segments, black olives, and watercress were tossed with the vinaigrette and then plated with parsley leaves. A mix of black olives is suggested, and I used some oil-cured black olives, black picholines, and some kalamatas.
Oranges and black olives are a classic pairing, and that fruity and briny combination was a lovely thing with the chunks of cod and fresh watercress and parsley. You have a great dish when all the components’ flavors go together so well and everything looks so good together at the same time.