A fresh-tasting and gorgeous looking winter salad that makes the most of two star ingredients from Spain: the oranges and the bacalao.
Combining orange and bacalao in a salad is not only a terrific idea but also a popular one in the southern provinces of Andalusia. The saltiness of the bacalao –Spanish for salt cod– contrasts extraordinarily well with the sweet acidity of the orange. And as well as being very delicious, the vibrant colour palette also makes it for a gorgeous looking dish to be served on your table.
These ‘orange-plus-bacalao-based’ salads have its origin in the Moorish cuisine and in Andalusia they are commonly known as ‘remojón’. Of course, you can find many different versions of this same recipe, depending on where you eat it. But all of them share a common thread: the orange and the bacalao. Then some people like to boil the cod whilst others prefer to bake it. There are versions of this recipe that also include boiled potatoes or even sun-dried tomatoes.
I personally like my salt cod baked because I think the texture is way more interesting and the flavour more subtle. The other extra ingredient I absolutely love in my ‘remojón’ is baked beetroot. It’s amazing how well the beetroot complements the orange and the cod, plus it really adds up in terms of flavour and texture.
Whatever the version, the ‘remojón’ is the perfect winter salad. Not only because the best oranges are found during winter, but also because historically the bacalao was the only fish that was broadly available to all the families during the cold season.
Like most traditional recipes in Spain, this one is also related to a specific celebration, in this case the ‘matanza’ or pig slaughter. It would always happen around November the 11th for St. Martin’s Day, a date to celebrate this huge family event as well as the arrival of the first seasonal oranges. What a better way to eat those oranges than with a fresh-tasting beetroot, orange and bacalao salad?