This recipe from María Dolores Torres Yzábal is based on the traditional bacalao a la viscaína, Basque-style salt cod from the north of Spain. The original uses dried sweet red peppers and is considered one of the supreme dishes of that region and is very often served at Christmas in some Mexican homes. When preparing this dish, remember that reheated codfish is even better that freshly prepared.
2 lb (1 kg) dried salt cod
1 chile ancho, toasted
2 lb (1 kg) tomatoes
½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 jar (7 oz/220 g) roasted red peppers
½ cup (2 oz/60 g) sliced blanched almonds
¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) raisins (optional)
½ cup (2 ½ oz/75 g) pimiento-stuffed olives
2 tablespoons capers (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1lb (500 g) small potatoes, cooked and peeled
canned chiles güeros
-Soak the cod in cold water to cover for 12 hours, changing the water 2 or 3 times. Drain. Place in a saucepan, cover with water and bring just to a boil. Drain, remove the skin and bones, shred the flesh and set aside.
-Remove the stem and seeds from the chile ancho and soak in hot water for minutes. Drain, then purée in a blender with the tomatoes and strain.
-Heat the oil in a large skillet, Add the purée and cook over low heat until it thickens. Add the cod, bay leaf, cinnamon, pepper, red peppers, almonds, raisins, olives, capers and parsley. Stir, then cook over medium heat, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes, cover and cook over high heat for 10 more minutes to heat through. Add salt if required.
-Garnish with the chiles güeros.