Cod is a fish that is usually preserved in salt. It is produced from various species, primarily from the Atlantic and the Pacific. Desalting cod at home is a simple process, but you need to follow a series of steps to get it to the right level of saltiness.
It is a very versatile and nutritious food that can be cooked in many different ways. That’s why it’s interesting to know how to desalt cod quickly so you can use it in multiple recipes.
How to Desalt Cod Step by Step
Dried and salted cod is preserved for a long time, making it a very useful ingredient to have in a well-stocked pantry. The curing and salting process allows it to last up to a year without spoiling or losing its nutritional and organoleptic qualities.
Desalting cod correctly is as important as knowing how to cook it. There are several methods to achieve good results in the kitchen. We’ll explain different techniques depending on the time you have available to complete the process.
Wash the Cod
Cod typically comes with quite a thick layer of salt. The first step in desalting it is to carefully rinse each piece under a gentle stream of cold water to remove this first layer of salt.
Submerge the Cod in Water
The thickness of each piece matters. Thick fillets require more time, about 36 hours. Thinner pieces will be ready in 24 hours.
It’s important to group the pieces by size to keep track of soaking times. The water should be as cold as possible, you can even put it in the freezer.
In a bowl or a tall container, place the pieces of cod and cover them with plenty of cold water. Keep them in the refrigerator and change the water every 8 hours to ensure the desalting process goes well. It’s important not to cover the container during soaking.
Dry and Remove the Bones
After the necessary soaking time, rinse each piece of fish with cold water. Pat them dry with kitchen roll and remove the bones using tweezers. Your cod is now ready to be cooked.
How to Desalt Cod Quickly
The process of desalting cod takes time, but if you’re in a hurry there are some ways to do it more quickly than the traditional method. However, it’s important to note that these methods may not be as effective in removing all the salt from the fish.
Here are some tricks to speed up the process, although you should be aware that the texture and flavour may change compared to the slower method.
One way to desalt cod more quickly is to soak it in cold water for about three hours and then change the water several times.
You can also cover the cod with hot water, but not boiling, for a few minutes and then let it soak in cold water for a few hours.
Another option is to cook the cod in water for 20 minutes, discard the cooking water, and then soak it in cold water for at least two hours.
The most effective way to speed up the process is to immerse the fish in cold milk for three hours. The cod’s texture will soften and the saltiness will decrease.
Tips and Advice for Succeeding with Cod
Now that you know how to desalt cod, we want to share some tips to help you excel in home cooking.
Before cooking, taste it for saltiness. Since it’s a previously cured fish, you can taste it uncooked without any risk. This way, you can make sure it’s not too salty before putting in the effort to cook it and risking your dish being ruined.
Dry it properly with paper towels before cooking. This will help it cook more evenly and prevent it from breaking or falling apart during cooking.
Cut the cod into pieces of the appropriate size for the way you’re going to cook it. For example, if you’re grilling or barbecuing it, cut it into thick fillets to keep them together during cooking. If you’re going to fry or grill it, cut it into smaller pieces.
Every part of the cod is used, which is why it’s also called ‘pork of the sea.’ The more premium cuts, like the loin, work best at low temperatures or in the oven.
The tail is perfect for pilpil, thanks to its high gelatin content. Smaller and irregular pieces are great for making croquettes, fritters, or brandade.
Desalting cod is a process that may seem simple but it requires a sharp eye and experience. With these tips prepared by the Chao Pescao team, you’re sure to get it perfect.