Sunday, January 14, 2018

Warm Bean and Salted Cod Salad

It's been almost two weeks since we left the lake, yet it feels like an eternity. It feels as if the last holiday did not happen. It's astonishing how quickly and forcefully our busy lives take over. They assume the reign and erase everything, to the point that there is not even a memory left. And at the end, only a photo remains, and a photo becomes the memory; a faint, inhibited recollection; like soundless humming of the morning wind in the woods; like the last gleam of an ember in the fireplace.

I took this picture of the frozen lake on January 1st, as we were ready to depart the mountain. I like it. A lot. It captures the essence of the last holiday and the much needed serenity; the peace, quiet and tranquility I sought and found at the mountain lodge on the edge of a lake. They say that January 1st is the hallmark of the year ahead. They say that what one does and feels on the first day of the New Year will be the insignia for the remaining three hundred and sixty four days. I so hope it is true. Because there is so much light in this photo. There is peace. There is stillness and harmony, kindness and understanding. Strength. And laser sharp focus.

Today I welcome the New Year again -- the Serbian New Year. So here I am, sharing the picture with you, sharing the feeling, and the best wishes. We'll be celebrating simply this year, with a loaf of rye bread, and a warm bean and salted cod salad. I like to make cod on New Years Day, because it is what my mom used to do, but also because in my book, there is something very special about it. It's clean and fresh, it's ancient, yet modern. It's comforting. And so respectful of the season. A perfect start for a new year.

Have a great one folks! Have a great one...

Warm Bean and Salted Cod Salad

to prepare the cod  

* 1 lb salted cod
* 2-3 bay leaves
* 1 lemon, sliced in 1/4-inch thick slices
* juice of one lemon

to prepare the salad

* 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic, crushed
* 2-3 bay leaves
* 1/3 cup dry white wine
* 1/4 cup water
* 2 cups cooked butter beans
* freshly ground pepper
* 2-3 tbsp finely chopped parsley (or up to taste)

Rinse the salted cod thoroughly under cold running water. Place the cod in a large bowl with cold water and soak for 24 hours. Change the water several times during soaking.

Place the soaked cod in a saucepan. Add cold water to cover. Add the bay leaves and lemon slices. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, lower the heat, and simmer the cod gently for about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Drain the cod and discard the water. Flake the cod with your hands into uneven, chunky pieces. Drizzle with the lemon juice. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant (garlic should not take on any color), for about 3 minutes.

Add the wine, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors meld, for about 5 to 7 minutes. Season the liquid with pepper. Add the beans and cod. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for another couple of minutes, until the beans and cod have warmed up gently. Remove the pot from the stove. Add the parsley and mix well. Serve while it is still warm.

Serves 6


  1. Looks delicious. Love the beans vs potatoes in another traditional dish. Will try this. Srecna Nova Godina........ Happy New Year !

  2. Looks delicious. Love the beans vs potatoes in another traditional dish. Will try this. Srecna Nova Godina........ Happy New Year !

  3. Happy new year! Salted fish is definitely an acquired taste -- I like it. And your dish is definitely lovely; I will definitely try this.

    1. Dina, I am with you. I sort of remember when my mom made it for the first time; there was a tiny bit of unusual feeling about it. But the good news is that salted cod is probably the least unusual of all the salted fish species. Cooking it with herbs and lemon also makes a difference. Happy New Year!

  4. I am an opportunistic chef, i love to cook and generally use recipes as a "guide". I found your site while looking for a recipe for apple strudel. I remember my mother stretching the pita dough over the dining table as a child and was amazed. I remember hating bakalar, sarma, burek and pecenje as a child (very un-Australian), Now I try to recreate them for my children and they love them, I make cevapi from scratch with their help, we have tried to make kiseli kupus (slight failure) and slava is always a blast. My wife who is not serb (and hates to cook) encourages our experiments, ajvar and the easy availability of balkan foods in the tri-state has made it much easier. Thank you for the recipes, I have hopes for my daughter as a future chef. Thanks Petar

    1. Hi Peter, so nice to meet you. I admire you for making ćevapi, because they've never worked out for me at home (I guess that's the magic of going to a kafana). I'll have to revisit them at some point. Cheers.


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