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 the recipe for bacalhau com broa 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, Sydney’s ‘Little Portugal’ in search of it. None of the bakeries had it, neither did 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!
Drain the bacalhau and put it into a saucepan along with the red onion, bay leaves, whole garlic and peppercorns. Cover with the milk – you may not need the entire litre. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer gently for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, roast the potatoes and red capsicum, coated with olive oil and salt in a 220°C oven. Remove the capsicum after 20 minutes and continue cooking the potatoes until just cooked through – around 40 minutes, depending on their size.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over high heat and fry the onion for 10 minutes 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, discard the skin and any bones it may have and break the fish into chunks.
Lower the oven temperature to 180°C.
Place the roasted potatoes on a board and flatten each one slightly. Snuggly arrange 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 the strips of roasted capsicum. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
Drizzle with a little more olive oil before serving.