Cod is one of the most valued fish of Catalan gastronomy. Throughout the twentieth century it has been considered a popular food and did not enjoy the prestige it receives today, actually for many years it was the way to bring the fish to the interior lands. An addition, the Catholic tradition promoted its consumption, especially during the ‘fish days’ in which the church forbade eating meat. So much so that Lent is represented in human form with seven feet -which represent the weeks of its duration- and carries in their hands vegetables and a cod, to explain graphically that it is time to eat this food.
Cod is one of the main foods of Catalan cuisine and of the Iberian Peninsula in general. This animal is like the pig, that can take advantage of all its parts. The Book of Coch, the oldest recipe book of Catalan cuisine dating from the s.XIII, we already find references of recipes that include cod.
Some of the iconic recipes of Catalonia that we want to highlight today are Bacallà a la llauna, one of the most emblematic dishes of Barcelona’s cuisine, the Bacallà amb samfaina that contains tomato and pepper, the esqueixada presented desalted and it is eaten raw. Others are the Bacallà de quaresma, with raisins and pine nuts, l’empedrat (a cold salad with french beans, tomatoes, cod and black olives) or the cod with honey from Scala Dei and which contrasts sweet and salty. However, a highly recommended appetizer is the brandada, which is incorporated into Catalan cuisine due to its proximity to Occitan cuisine and features emulsified cod, bunyols or croquetes, which are also well-known.
The sardine is also very popular in the cuisine of the Catalan Countries. Josep Pla, a famous writer, considered that it was the best blue fish and added that the best way was:’never grilled, please!’
There are several ways to prepare them: with garlic and parsley, fried, battered without spines, smoked, marinated, pickled, breaded or prepared like Ferran Adrià, with sesame and carrot salad. A very popular tradition of when carnival ends is to bury the sardine, as a symbol of leaving behind the past. Another anecdote that illustrates the close relationship that this blue fish has with our land is that with the invention of the canned sardine a whole industry was boosted around it. He stirred the canning story, gave work to many women, and their preservative attributes, solved the diet of many people during the war.
Other fish that we can not ignore are the sea bass, a white fish of the Mediterranean that has many vitamins, minerals and Omega 3 and that is very good baked, salt or sauce. Or the Gilt-head bream, very appreciated for its firmness and flavor of its meat and that displays ample possibilities in the kitchen. The best known of all is the salt, but we would also highlight grilled, steamed, boiled or with a short broth.
In our right Eixample restaurant you can taste many of these recipes that we have mentioned. Come and learn various ways to cook fish!