Thursday, February 07, 2008


My bacalao consumption reached its peak in Bilbao, when I had it for lunch and dinner and then again at lunch the next day. In its pre-cooked form at La Boqueria in Barcelona:

A Basque Luncheon: Stuffed piquillo peppers with bacalao (and then fried!)
Being in Basque county, I had to eat Basque, so I picked a restaurant painted a charming sunny yellow, where the menu was hand written in Spanish and Basque. Needless to say, there were vast swaths of the menu that I couldn't comprehend. And yet I managed to navigate myself to something fried and quite delicious. The bacalao was a bit gluey in texture, though mild as far as taste. As someone who loves piquillo peppers and things fried, it was quite a nice (albeit a rather heavy) lunch.

Yandiola: Bacalao with olives, anchovy foam and tomato water
I spent a good portion of my day restaurant shopping (i.e. zig-zagging across various streets reading menus whenever I could). What jumped out at me at this particular restaurant was the notice that the chef had won a prize for his bacalao dishes. It didn't disappoint. This was the only time I had bacalao that wasn't mashed up. I'm guessing the bacalao was rehydrated and then sliced. The cheese tuille and anchovy were delicious. In fact, the whole dish was delicious.

Lunch at El Goog: Bacalao stuffed cabbage
Despite my new found non-hatred of bacalao, I decided I needed a break from the fine fish, so I stole a bite of K's lunch and found the preparation less gluey that the Basque luncheon version. Sadly, I do not think the cabbage was fried.

And then there was that omelette in Madrid.

After all these tastings, I've decided bacalao isn't terrible. I might not ever crave it, but it's totally palatable, though the way in which it's prepared makes a huge difference in just how tasty it is. Yes, I know, this is but a lukewarm recommendation to run out and try bacalao.


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