Sorry, the title might have confused you readers! Bacalao à la Vizcaina is a traditional Spanish dish eaten by Hispanics throughout the world on special occasions like Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In the Philippines, it was a common dish found in the tables of Spanish-speaking families who try to connect with the Mother Country through the shared dishes, practices and heritage. However, what I did yesterday wasn’t an original Bacalao à la Vizcaina. I didn’t use olives neither did I use capers.
I didn’t even use bacalao! I used the ever reliable and not to mention, accessible Cream Dory fillet.
Originally, mama simply told me to buy barbeque in Andok’s for lunch with Ana. The budget was 100 Pesos (1 pork barbeque stick is 20 Pesos). However, I didn’t like Andok’s barbeques because they’re just too saucy and the meat is not so generous in serving.
I decided then to visit Shopwise Araneta and try to see from there what I could cook. While I was walking and getting myself some tomatoes, I remembered the faux Bacalao à la Vizcaina we had in one family breakfast. It was superbly cooked and I thought it was really bacalao when it was just dory.
So I bought a pack of two fillets of cream dory (99 Pesos) and went straight home to prepare my ingredients. It took a while though to thaw the fillets which were really frozen.
10 tomatoes, sliced
1 onion, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
10 baby potatoes, sliced
2 slices of ginger to remove the fishy taste
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
2 fillets of cream dory
2 calamansis (lime)
Flour, salt and pepper for the light coating
First, add salt and pepper to the fish, which was already sliced to cubes. Squeeze two calamansis on the fish to add flavor and zest. Then, coat the fish slices with some flour and fried them in vegetable oil a good two minutes per side. DO NOT overcook the fish. And don’t flip it every now and then or else you’ll ruin the texture.
Then, after frying all the fish slices, set these aside, placing them on a plate with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
In the same pot, add the olive oil and saute the tomatoes well. Make sure the tomatoes are cooked well. You could even mash them. Though this isn’t rally vizcaina, it’s still generous with the tomatoes. Then, when the tomatoes are done, add in the garlic and onions as well as the ginger. After a minute or so, add the potatoes too.
Do not hesitate to to add in more olive oil if it’s drying. You may also add olives, capers and laurel/bay leaves to the sauce.
Then, add in the stick of butter for some creamy taste to the dish. You can also add some tomato paste if you want your sauce thicker. Finally, add the fish into the sauce and saute for a brief time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This was a really easy and cheap dish. It’s also delicious and healthy, mind you! It may not be real bacalao but at least, lunch doesn’t have to be some forgettable Andok’s pork barbeque take out. This recipe hecho ayer.