Advances in navigational techniques between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries not only allowed Cristobal Colón to reach America, but also allowed the Atlantic and the Cantabrian Spanish access to fishing areas in northern Europe, America and Africa. In this way, new species entered became part of the Spanish diet, among them, Atlantic cod (Gadus Moruha) from the cold waters of Newfoundland or the North Sea.
Given its provenance over generations, the Spanish fishermen have fished and salted it to later market it throughout Spain. At present, the cod industry has virtually disappeared, and Cod is increasingly scarce and can be considered almost a gourmet product. The salting process lasts for several months and the results in a flat product, triangular in shape that can be easily transported. Smaller, thin pieces without bones are sold chopped. With a low fat content, the meat is white and has a firm texture. As it is a salty product, even though it is desalted (by soaking in cold water for about 24/48 hours before cooking, during which time the water is changed several times depending on the size of the pieces) before cooking, The salty notes still persist after processing. The part selected for salting is the part with the highest meat content.
Nutritionally it is a species with a high amount of quality proteins of high biological value, high content of minerals (iodine, phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium) and vitamins of group B. Its forms of presentation are the following:
- Traditional cod: Which must be soaked prior to consumption.
- Desalted and refrigerated: this is the previous product, which has been desalted by the manufacturer to offer the consumer a product that is ready to eat.
- Desalted and frozen: as in the previous case it is a product that was desalted at the manufacturer’s premises, and subsequently frozen in order to extend the shelf life of the product.It is ready for consumption after thawing.
- Dry or cured: which is the cod undergoing a curing process.
Main food for periods of fasting when Christian doctrine forbidden the consumption of meat (Lent and waking), today its consumption is already part of our gastronomy and also that of our Portuguese neighbors and although the most notable are the recipes devised by the Basque cooks, there is not a single region of Spain where cod has not become an exceptional dish. As cod is an incredibly versatile food. It has much of the latest signature cuisine, as well as popular regional dishes.