There is little doubt that this is the best time of the year for salads, that is in the Northern hemisphere of course. And if they’re really nourishing, they can be a whole meal in themselves. That’s very convenient when your kitchen is above 29ºC (84ºF) like mine these last days. I’m tending to avoid any meal that requires fire and oven as much as I can. But being away from the kitchen is hard for me, mainly because I’m used to the opposite. I don’t seem to know what to do with the spare time I suddenly have in my hands. Today I’m posting a very simple and refreshing salad, ancient and traditional in many places of Andalusia, with such an original combination of sweet and savory flavors that would make many a modern chef envious. That’s exactly what popular genius is all about. Being inimitable.
Remojón as a salad (there are also warm brothy versions), as far as I know, has countless variations in the provinces of Almería, Granada and Málaga, which are usually prepared on the basis of oranges and salted cod. In some places, the cod is added without desalting, only flaked, in others the fish is baked in the oven, even raw in some… the variations are endless. By the way, check the pronunciation of remojón here (and yes, it’s my own voice).
The presence of oranges talks about a dish that was once typical of the Fall/Winter season, in fact consumed at the time of the yearly pork slaughter, which in many places of Spain occurs around Saint Martin’s, on November 11th… but now we have insipid fruit grown in greenhouses at any time of year, or other brought from the far side of the globe spending a lot of resources while the Southern hemisphere farmers are hardy paid enough to live… oops, sorry, I get carried away. In short, in early summer we now have oranges available, so the alleged seasonality of this dish is no longer such.
Yields 2 servings
- 250g good salted codfish
- 2 smallish oranges or 1 large orange
- 1/4 onion
- 1 good handful of whole black olives
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- Virgin olive oil
- Desalt the codfish by leaving it to rest in water overnight in the fridge. You can also use unsalted cod, of course, only the dish won’t have that distinct saltiness. I like the cod on the salty side, the contrast with the sweet flavors is irresistible. The next day, drain the fish, put in an oven dish, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven preheated at 180ºC, taking care not to overbake it. Take out of the oven, let cool, flake it and set aside.
- Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, let cool, peel them, cut them in fourths and set aside.
- Peel the oranges and get rid of as much pith as you can. Cut them in slices or dice; set aside.
- Finely dice the onion.
- Pit the olives.
- Place the ingredients on the plates in the following order: orange, onion, codfish, olives and eggs. That is if you want to make the salad according to my taste, but if you prefer to contradict me, do as you like. I personally prefer to skip the vinegar with this kind of fruity salads, but adding a good vinegar is the traditional thing. So you have my permission to do it. I’m that magnanimous. And lastly drizzle a fair amount of olive oil on the salad.
The combination of the sweetness of the orange with the saltiness of the fish, the freshness of the onion and the bitterness of the olives is like an adrenaline dose… I mean it. Just try it.