Salt Cod with Chickpeas and Spinach

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This recipe was prepared by Chef John Maxwell on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s weekly television program.

Maxwell, a certified executive chef, culinary educator and member of the American Academy of Chefs, shares delicious seasonal recipes in a Real Virginia segment sponsored by Virginia Grown, a program of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Salt Cod with Chickpeas and Spinach

4 6-ounce portion salt cod
2 cups of cooked or canned chickpeas
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup minced garlic
3 cups diced onion
4 cups peeled, de-seeded and diced tomatoes
12 ounces fresh spinach, washed

Thirty-six hours before cooking, fill a large pan or bowl with cold, fresh water and soak fish in refrigerator, changing the water every 8 hours. After soaking, the fish should retain a little saltiness but not enough that guests will need to drink lots of water.

If using dry, uncooked chickpeas, soak them overnight before cooking. Cook for about 2 hours or until the peas are tender. Alternately, drain and rinse canned chickpeas.

In a frying pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and onions and fry, stirring occasionally, until they turn golden brown. Add the tomatoes, and allow the mixture to cook down until the excess liquid has evaporated. Add the spinach to the vegetable mixture and reduce heat to low. Cover the pan, and heat until the spinach has wilted. Add the chickpeas, and heat gently to warm them through.

In a large, heavy-based frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the salt cod, and fry for 5-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve at once on a bed of the vegetable mixture. Serves 6.

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