Pimientos stuffed with salt cod puree

Pimientos stuffed with salt cod puree
Pimientos stuffed with salt cod puree Photo: Marina Oliphant

As the evening cools and darkens, the streets come to life again, shops reopen, music plays and it's time to drink and eat again. People wander between tapas bars for a beer, some skewered marinated anchovies and peppers, chorizo on soft white bread or perhaps a plate of jamon. There are little sweet peppers stuffed with salt cod puree, gherkins stuffed with tuna ... and so it goes, all night.

Ingredients

500g piece of salt cod

2 cups milk

4 peppercorns

1 sprig of parsley

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

250mL olive oil

750g potatoes (white starchy varieties are best), steamed skin on, peeled and mashed

2-3 tbsp chopped parsley

2-3 tbsp reserved poaching liquid

12 small pimientos, drained*

* Pimientos can be bought at good delis.

Method

Soak salt cod in cold water for 48 hours before starting the rest of the recipe, changing water

4 times to rehydrate and desalt the fish.

In a large pot, poach the fillet of salt cod with the milk, peppercorns, parsley and bay leaves and enough water to immerse the fish. Poach gently for 15-20 minutes or until soft and flaky. Carefully remove fish, drain (reserving some of the poaching liquid) and cool. Flake the fish from the skin and bones (which you discard) and put into a food processor with the garlic and half of the lemon juice. Slowly drizzle in the oil until you have a thick puree. Now add the potatoes and parsley to the puree. Pulse until combined but do not puree for long as the potatoes will become overworked. You may need to add some of the poaching liquid to loosen up the mixture and the rest of the lemon juice, depending on taste. The salt cod puree should be creamy and light with a pleasant saltiness.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Stuff each pimiento with the salt cod puree and place on a baking tray, with a little room between each. Drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven. Bake for 15 mins.

To serve

Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon and perhaps some grilled bread and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.