Sautéed Salt [Salted] Fish is a staple throughout the Caribbean. Drying fish was a method used in perserving fish. It gives the fish a distinct texture. To learn more about salt fish check out this article by the Spruce. When I was a little girl, cooking salt fish was a time consuming task. The whole dried fish was filled with bones that need to be removed after boiling. This task was often one given to the children. I loved eating salt fish but HATED having to pick bones from the fish before my mom could cook it. Today, life is so easy, I can buy boneless, skinless salt fish filets!
Preparing the Salt Fish for Sautéeing
As the name suggests salt [salted] fish is very salty. Therefore you must remove as much as the salt as possible before eating the salt fish. Here are a few steps to do this:
- Rinse the salt fish filets: Giving the salt fish filets a quick rinse helps to remove residual salt
- Soaking overnight: If time allows soaking the salt fish over night helps to remove excess salt and also softens the salted dry fish
- Boiling the salt fish filets: Most people boil the salt fish filets to reconstitute the fish (add some moisture back into the dried fish) and remove excess salt. Before boiling salt fish has the texture of jerky.
- Changing the water 2 to 3 times: While boiling the salt fish I highly recommend changing the water after 10 to 15 minutes of boiling and repeating this 2 to 3 times.
Preparing the veggies for the Sautéed Saltfish
This sautéed salt fish dish is very flexible. You can use any combination of vegetables you like. For this recipe I used green onions, mini bell pepper, lots of tomatoes, garlic, thyme and some fresh parley along with salt and pepper. You can use onions and even cilantro.
Bringing the Sautéed Salt Fish together
After I've sautéed the veggies I toss in the prepared salt fish, then continue to sauté to bring the flavors together and the sautéed salt fish is ready for your favorite side dish. Salt fish is traditionally paired with bakes, but it is also great for adding to vegetables or eating along with dhal and rice.
The Sautéed Saltfish Video Tutorial
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The Printable Sautèed Salt Fish Recipe
Sautéed Salt Fish
- 1 lb salted cod or other salted fish
- About 8 cups water for boiling
- 2 large tomatoes diced
- 1 cup of baby bell peppers thinly sliced
- 5 heads of green onions finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic grated
- 1 tablespoons dried thyme
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
- 2-4 tablespoons of oil
Boiling the Fish to remove the salt
- Add salt fish filets to a bowl, then rinse with cool running water to remove as much residual salt as possible. If time allows, you may soak fish for 2-4 hours or overnight if possible, In 4-6 cups of cool water after rinsing
- Next, add salt fish and 4 cups of water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Boil uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot, as salt fish tends to boil over if left unattended. Reduce the heat to medium low, if bubbles rise to the top of the pot.
- After about 15 minutes, drain water, then add an additional 4 cups of water, bring to a boil and boil for another 15 minutes. This helps to remove as much of the salt as possible.
- Next drain fish from water, then rinse with cool water and set aside for a few minutes to allow fish to cool
- When thee fish cools, flake with a fork or your fingers until all the flesh is completely flaky
Sautéing the cooked salt fish
- Bring 3 tablespoons of oil up to temperature in a large sauté pan on medium heat
- Then add tomatoes, ⅔ green onions, bell peppers and garlic. Cook until tomatoes are soft, then add the flaked salt fish, thyme and cayenne pepper
- Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. Once the fish has cooked for 15 minutes, remove from the heat and add the remaining green onions.
- I don't add any additional salt to the dish because even after boiling the fish to remove the salt, it can still be salty
- If you don't have time to soak your salt fish over night or even for a few hours don't worry, you can simply repeat the boiling steps 3-4 times to remove some of the excess salt.
- Be sure to taste a piece of the salt fish after you've boiled and drained it twice to confirm that most of the salt has been removed. If it is still too salty, drain the boiling water, add fresh water and boil again for another 10 minutes.