Using up the rest of the fish from when I previously made my little crumbed bacalhau balls didn’t take long, especially when I had this recipe from the Food Safari cookbook by Maeve O’Meara; something I’d wanted to try for ages. It looks and sounds like a perfect recipe for a relatively light meal. The recipe calls for cornbread* to be used in the crunchy topping so I ventured to Petersham in search of it. None of the bakeries had it, as well as the Portuguese deli and just as I was about to give up I stopped into a butcher and found it sitting up on the counter. Nice one. Seeing we were in little Portugal we couldn’t leave without dropping into La Patisserie for a box of custard tarts to take home. Something a little sweet after the salty.
* This is the Portuguese cornbread that’s a little dense in texture. Nothing like the American cornbread that’s very sweet and cake-like.
Drain the bacalhau, place it in a saucepan and cover with milk. Add the red onion, bay leaves, whole garlic and peppercorns. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Roast the potatoes with olive oil and salt in a hot oven until golden. Halfway through add the strips of capsicum.
Heat more olive oil in a saucepan over high heat and fry the onion until browned. Reduce the heat and cook gently until soft and almost caramelised.
Finely crumble or grate the cornbread into a bowl and mix with the chopped garlic, parsley and egg yolks.
Remove the fish from the milk, remove the skin and any bones and break the fish into chunks.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the roasted potatoes on a board and flatten each one. Lay them in a baking dish and cover with the fish, followed by the cooked onions and the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper. Stud the olives all over and scatter with strips of roasted capsicum. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil before serving.