Faithful Friend

S 2 with Andreas Viestad EPISODE 02

Andreas loves fresh cod and the way the white flaky flesh of the cod curls up when you cook it. But unfortunately the fish doesn’t keep very well. Down through the ages, generations of cod lovers have invented different ways of preserving the fish, but none quite as ingenious as Bacalao. Andreas shows you how the fish was traditionally dried and salted.

An Important Revenue SourceThe Bacalao industry was the main source of revenue for the entire community here. Because it was a job for women, the women in this region have always been independent minded. They were accustomed to having their own job and their own income.

Onion SoupA sweet and warming Red Onion Soup is first on this episode’s menu. The sweetness stems from the onions and the port wine. This wine has a long history in this region since the Portuguese traders often bartered it for Bacalao in the days of old. Served au gratin with cheese, this is a delicious treat to partake of along the coast.

Andreas travels to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to see for himself if it is true that people around the world appreciate Bacalao. One of the explanations for the popularity of this modest fish is religion. In the 16th century, the Catholic Church introduced more and more days of fasting. The dried fish was one of the only available foods that could be eaten during Lent. The fish spread, along with the religion, to other areas of the world as well.

Preparing the Famous Bacalao StewThere are as many Bacalao recipes as there are people cooking it. The version that Andreas makes is based on his own interpretation of the traditional dish. The Bacalao Stew simmers for one and a half hours before it is served to a group of discerning locals who have grown up with this dish.