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Top Spanish Bacalao Tapa Recipes

The Spanish Love Salt Cod


Bacalao is Spanish for Cod fish. Salt cod is a staple of the Spanish diet, even though refrigeration has eliminated the need to salt fish to preserve it. Salt cod is especially popular in central and northern Spain, and is often served in Spanish homes and restaurants, especially during Lent and Christmas. For thousands of years, fish was caught and preserved with salt, so it could be consumed at a later date. Ruins of Roman fish processing facilities can still be seen in villages along the Mediterranean coastline.

Cod is one of the most popular fish in Europe. Cookbooks from the various regions are filled with a wide variety of cod dishes, particularly the Basque Country. Salty, dry cod must soaked in water for 24-36 hours before cooking, and the water must be changed 2-3 times. After leaching the salt out, the cod can be cooked in many ways - fried, boiled, or simmered in sauce to name a few. Below are the top bacalao tapas recipes.

1. Fried Cod Fish Ball Tapa Recipe - Bolas de Bacalao Frito

Bolas de Bacalao Frito - Fried Cod Fish Balls
(c) 2008 Lisa Sierra Licensed to About.com
These little balls made from flaked salt cod are light and fluffy, and are a popular tapa on Spanish coasts. Serve them with alioli sauce (garlic mayonnaise) and/or Spanish sofrito (tomato sauce) for a unique and tasty appetizer.

2. Pimientos Rellenos de Bacalao - Recipe for Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Cod

Pimientos Rellenos de Bacalao - Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Cod
(c) 2008 Lisa Sierra Licensed to About.com
An outstanding tapa from Northern Spain, this stuffed pepper dish is very popular. Sweet and tasty roasted piquillo peppers are first stuffed with a mixture of salt cod, white wine, onions and garlic. Then, they are dipped in egg and flour, and lightly fried. Finally, they are bathed in tomato sauce. It is worth the hour that it takes to prepare this tapa!

3. Salt Cod and Potato Spread Recipe - Cazuelitas de Bacalao

Salt Cod and Potato Spread - Cazuelitas de Bacalao (c)
Lisa Sierra (c) 2008 Licensed to About.com
Mix salt cod, potatoes, onions and garlic with a bit of white wine and spices - it makes a tasty spread. Serve warm in bowls, and let everyone spread it over slices of warm rustic bread. Accompany it with a glass of white wine.

4. Bacalao Omelet Recipe - Tortilla de Bacalao

Tortilla de Bacalao - Omelet with Bacalao
Lisa Sierra (c) 2011 Licensed to About.com Inc.
Salt cod goes with just about everything, eggs included! After soaking the cod to leach the salt, whisk it together with sautéed green peppers, onions and eggs. Although it makes a good tapa, these little omelets make perfect snacks, breakfast or the main course in a light dinner.

5. Cod with Caramelized Leek and Orange Recipe-Bacalao con Pueros Caramelizados

Bacalao con Naranja y Pueros Caramelizados - Cod with Orange and Caramelized Leeks
(c) 2007 L. Sierra Licensed to About.com Inc.
A few years ago, this unusual tapa was part of a tapa contest in Burgos. Salty, but sweet-and-sour! The salty flavor of the cod combines with the sweet orange slice, and the sweet-and-sour flavor of the caramelized leek with vinegar to create a truly unique and tasty appetizer.

6. Cod-Stuffed Squid Recipe - Calamar Relleno de Bacalao

Cod-Stuffed Squid - Calamar Relleno de Bacalao (c)
Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.
Salt cod is combined with garlic, potatoes and tomato sauce, to make a thick rich filling. It is then stuffed into a squid, breaded and lightly fried. Too messy to eat with your hands, cut open and mound on slices of bread. This tapa is certainly substantial enough to make a meal.
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