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SALAD OF STOCKFISH, APPLEDrying is an excellent way to cure fish as micro-organisms can’t grow without water and so the fish can’t rot. In the old days, fish were dried in the open air, which works well in very hot or very cold climates, but in humid, temperate zones like Europe, untreated fish tends to rot before it has dried completely. Centuries ago, people living in temperate climates discovered that drying fish worked if you salted it first and that it also improved its flavour. In Spain, for example, huge quantities of bacalao (salt cod) are still eaten. About one-quarter of the fish is saturated with salt, which prevents harmful bacteria from forming. At the same time, it allows enzymes and salt-resistant bacteria to break down neutral fats and proteins in the flesh into smaller, flavoursome particles that enhance the flavour of the fish even more. It’s important to select a piece of fish that is pure white as, if it has a yellowish tinge, it has probably oxidized slightly and won’t taste as good. Stockfish, salt-cured cod from northern Europe, is dried even longer (and harder) than bacalao but you can use either for most recipes. Just remember to soak the fish in water for at least 24 hours before cooking.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 600 g/1 lb 5 oz stockfish (air and wind-dried white fish, usually cod)
  • 2 beetroot (beets), cooked, peeled and finely diced
  • 100 ml/3½ floz/generous ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small cos (romaine) lettuce, separated into leaves and rinsed
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, cut into matchsticks
  • ½ tbsp finely chopped chives
  • salt and pepper
How to Make It
  1. Soak the stockfish for 24 hours in a large bowl of cold water, changing the water at least four times.
  2. When you change the water for the final time, begin marinating the beetroot (beets). Place it in a bowl, pour over the balsamic vinegar and leave for 6 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. To make the dressing, whisk the mustard and vinegar with a pinch of salt. Add the sunflower oil a few drops at a time, whisking constantly until the dressing thickens. If it is too thick, whisk in a few drops of water. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the fish from the bowl and pat dry. Put the fish in an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for 12–15 minutes.
  5. Remove any skin and bones and break the fish into pieces. Leave it to cool until lukewarm.
  6. Drain the beetroot from the vinegar and pat dry with kitchen paper (paper towels).
  7. Divide the lettuce leaves between four plates or place on a large serving dish. Arrange the fish, beetroot and apple matchsticks over the leaves and sprinkle with the chives. Drizzle the dressing over the salad or serve it separately.

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