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June 17th, 2008

Empedrat / Salt Cod and White Bean Salad

This is Eli and Cesc’s version of the Catalan classic - see my article on Iconic Spanish Salads for more about it as well as other Spanish salads for summer.

Serves 6
An excellent if much quicker substitution for the salt cod is high-quality, line-caught tinned bonito tuna in EVOO.

8 ounces salt cod (presoaked and rinsed)
4 ounces dried small white beans, preferably Spanish ganxet or Santa Pau, or 8 ounces cooked small white beans, rinsed (see Note)
2 medium red onions, very finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
Extra-virgin olive oil
36 to 48 black olives, preferably Spanish Aragones
Sherry vinegar (optional)
Freshly ground pepper, salt

The night before, put the dried beans (if using) to soak in abundant water. Drain, rinse, and drain again. Place in a large pot, cover with abundant water, bring to a boil, and gently boil until tender, about 1 hour. Add salt for the final 10 minutes of cooking. Drain the beans only when ready to use. Skin and carefully debone the cod. Shred into pieces by hand.

Meanwhile, place the onions in a bowl, cover with water and a teaspoon of salt, and let sit for 1 hour. Drain, rinse, and drain again.

Place the salt cod, onions, beans, tomatoes, green pepper, and olives in a large serving bowl. Add oil until moist but not pooling on the bottom of the bowl. Mix carefully. Cover, refrigerate, and chill while allowing the flavors to blend. Before serving, taste for salt and add if needed. Shake a couple of drops of vinegar over top if desired. Dust with plenty of black pepper.

Note: Fesols de Santa Pau are very small white beans from the volcanic region near Olot; ganxets are a bit larger with slightly curling ends. Great Northern or cannelini beans are excellent substitutions.

Posted by jeffkoehler in  recipes  |  

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