Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Brandada de Bacalao

This is one of my all-time favourite tapas – the saltiness of the fish, the creaminess from the mash and the slight piquancy of the peppers all come together perfectly in every bite. As with most tapas, these are great party food, but I’ve also done a couple with a bit of rocket as a damn fine starter.

Makes 16ish
Ingredients

  • 175g salt cod
  • 400g mashing potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 small shallots (or 1 banana shallot), finely sliced
  • 2–3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 pinches of smoked paprika, preferably the hot one but sweet will do
  • 3 tablespoons double cream
  • A squeeze of lemon, if you fancy it
  • A tin or jar of piquillo peppers with at least 16 pieces in it, drained pepper

Method

  1. Soak the salt cod overnight, changing the water a few times. Next day, first get your mash going: quarter the spuds into cold salted water, bring to the boil, simmer until tender, then drain. While the spuds are going, lift the cod out of the water, pick/cut out any bones and peel off the skin, then roughly chop the flesh.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan and fry the cod, shallots, garlic and smoked paprika for a few minutes until the cod is opaque and the shallots have softened, then turn the heat off.
  3. Once the spuds are well drained mash them into the cod with the cream. Season well with pepper and a squeeze of lemon, and let the mix cool a little by spreading it out on a plate. Stuff the peppers, put them on a small, baking tray, then brush them lightly all over with water.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10ish minutes until hot but not collapsing; you can give them a splash of extra virgin olive oil when they come out of the oven if you want, but in Spain they are usually served matt.

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