The most important rule at the time of buying the “faithful friend” is drying! Whatever your recipe is, the secret is: well dried cod. Drying is an integral part of the cod curing process, which consists in placing the fish in trays and then sending it to the drying tunnel. It is in the drying process that the excellence of the cod is established. At a maximum temperature of 22° C, continuously controlled, in which the cod remains for a period of time ranging from 36 to 120 hours depending on its specificity. This procedure may be repeated if it is found that the cod is not properly dried and may be intercalated by periods of drying and resting, depending on the type of curing that has to be done.
Drying is crucial to stabilize moisture levels in the fish and maintain the integrity of the fish according to the parameters established by law.
The Gadus morhua is the genuine cod. Some species of the same family may mislead the consumer, being considered cod fish. A right cut of the tail and three fins on the back set the difference between the genuine cod and its substitutes, such as saithe.
At the time of purchase, the consumer should always check the origin of the fish. Certified Codfish guarantees the highest quality. Lugrade recommends cod from Iceland, where quality parameters are maintained from capture to shipment through quality certification systems, namely the IRF (Iceland Responsible Fisheries), which establishes the crucial element for the quality and freshness of cod.
Then one should check that the cod is really dry. One of the most used tests and that has proven effective, is to hold the fish by the tail and verify if the same folds in the zone of the loin. If this happens, the cod is not well dried.
Another key feature when choosing the best cod is the colour. A too white cod does not mean that we are facing a quality cod. On the contrary, the cod must present a straw yellow coloration. Also note areas with a black or reddish colour. Buying should be avoided in these cases.
A question that sometimes causes some doubt is the choice between deep-frozen or dry salted cod. Everything has to do with the time available for the recipe collection: if you do not have time to soak the cod, choose to buy deep-frozen soaked cod. However, it is important to note that dry salted cod, after soaked, gains approximately 30% of its original volume, making it more profitable to cook, and in turn, the cost per kilo turns to be cheaper. Whereas dry-salted cod maintains its original flavour from the end of the curing to your plate, deep-frozen soaked cod has less flavour, since it has already been subjected to soaking and deep-freezing processes that remove its characteristic flavour.