The Portuguese are masters of salted cod; the dried fish, in fact, is called Fiel amigo in Portugal (faithful friend).
1 pound salt cod
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled
1 quart non-salty chicken stock
2 cups water
6 ounces kale without thick stems
Portuguese olive oil for drizzling
1. Soak the salt cod in a bowl of water in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Change the water several times a day.
2. When ready to make soup, drain and dry off the salt cod. Place the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over moderately high heat. Add the garlic and half of the salt cod. Sauté until the garlic starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Immediately add the potatoes, chicken stock, and water. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
3. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes and the cooked salt cod right in the pan. (They will end up in little chunks.) Boil for 5 minutes.
4. While the potatoes and cod are boiling, shred the kale. Gather some leaves together, roll them up the long way, and then cut the rolls into fine shreds.
5. Add the kale to the soup, along with the remaining salt cod cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the kale is just tender. Taste the soup for seasoning before serving in soup bowls. Drizzle each bowl with a little Portuguese olive oil.
The Portuguese are masters of salted cod; the dried fish, in fact, is called fiel amigo in Portugal (faithful friend). Therefore, it seems entirely appropriate to make the following creative leap: a seafood version of caldo verde, the national dish, made with the national fish. This variation can use a little more depth than the chouriço one, because the salt cod leaves a less marked taste than the sausage does. That's why chicken stock is recommended here, along with water. But use water alone, or fish stock, if you're looking for a light, non-meat version. Serves 4