Understanding how to salt and preserve the Atlantic Cod gave rise to an industry that fueled the age of European imperialism. Cod fed the armies and merchant marines of the entire continent, and its production made world powers out of Portugal and Spain. The promise of new fisheries across the North Atlantic accelerated the technology of shipbuilding as demand increased. Soon huge fleets of fishing vessels would cross the sea towards the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and down the coast to the Gulf of Maine. In fact, they did such a good job that as fishing technology advanced over the next 100 years, the cod fisheries of the north Atlantic had basically collapsed and with it, entire communities were devastated.
Nowadays the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fishwise have listed the Atlantic Cod as a “red” or unsustainable choice. And unfortunately for us, most of the high quality salt cod that is available these days is still made from Atlantic Cod. So several months ago I went to work to better understand the process of making our own salted fish in house. I started taking all of the sustainable white fish that we sell here at the market–pacific true cod, petrale sole, flounder and halibut–and experimented with salt content and drying times. After getting the recipe down and product rotation into full swing, we’ve discontinued using Atlantic Salt Cod and now use only our house made product!
You can taste our house-salted cod in our brandade, available in our self-serve prepared foods case, or buy the fillets to make your own.