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?
- 2 units Orange
- 500 g Salt cod (bacalao)
- 0.5 units Red onion – thinly sliced
- 100 g Black olives – pitted and sliced
- 2 units Beetroot – finely diced
- 1 Egg – boiled
- Fresh mint
- For the vinaigrette:
- 5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp Orange juice
- A pinch of Salt
- A pinch of Freshly ground black pepper
- To desalt the bacalao, soak it in abundant water for 72 hours in the fridge. Change the water every 8 to 12 hours.
- Once the cod is desalted, take it out of the water, rinse it and drain it. Place it in an oven-safe dish, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and put in the oven for 15 minutes at 180ºC. Then take it out, let it cool down and crumble it. Reserve aside.
- Put the egg in a saucepan with cold water and bring it to a boil for 10 minutes until it’s cooked. Then remove from the saucepan, let it cool down and peel it. Reserve.
- Peel the orange making sure to remove all the white bits. Separate the segments and reserve. Slice the onion as finely as you can.
- To plate the salad, place the orange segments at the bottom of the plate, then the onion, then the bacalao and finally the diced beetroot. Garnish with the crumbled boiled egg and the sliced olives.
- Make the vinaigrette by whisking together all its ingredients. Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette and finish it by sprinkling a little bit of finely chopped fresh mint. Serve at room temperature.