5large beefsteak tomatoesapprox 4 lbs or 2 kilos, halved or 2 x 25 oz cans fire-roasted canned tomatoes
2-3sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano
8garlic clovessmashed, divided
3medium red bell peppersroasted and sliced thin or 1 large store-bought jar of roasted peppers (pimientos), sliced thin
1large sweet onionhalved and thinly sliced
2red chili pepperschopped with seeds
4large potatoesroughly 2 lbs/1 kg, peeled and cubed
¼cup70 ml sherry vinegar or dry sherry
1x 14.5 oz can organic chickpeas
1x 14.5 oz can hearts of palmdrained and cut into 1-inch pieces
1cupgreen or black olivespitted and halved
2banana peppersor pepperoni, pickled
Couple of handfuls of fresh parsleychopped
Extra virgin olive oil for cooking and roasting tomatoes
If you are making your own tomato sauce, start by placing the halved tomatoes on a sheet tray fitted with a rack, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and place 2 of your smashed garlic cloves and the sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano on the cut side.
Drizzle with a little olive oil then place the tomatoes cut side down in the oven. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes until the skins are easy to remove (depends on the strength of your oven). Alternatively, you can put them under the broiler for 4-5 minutes until the skins are black, and leave the peppers in the oven for a few more minutes.
Place the tomatoes in a blender, and buzz a few times until you have a chunky sauce, and set aside.
If you’re roasting your own red bell peppers do that next – either over a live gas flame until charred on all sides or in the oven at 400° for about 40 minutes, turning them over halfway.
Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until they cool down, then remove the skins and clean them of seeds/membranes and slice thinly, then set aside.
Place a large, heavy-bottomed large pot over medium, heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and throw in the sliced onions with a pinch of kosher or sea salt. Sweat the onions for 3-4 minutes, before adding in 6 of the garlic cloves and the red chili peppers and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
Add in the cubed potatoes and the tomato sauce or canned tomatoes with the smoked paprika, bay leaf, sherry or sherry vinegar, and a couple of pinches of kosher salt. Let simmer on medium for about 10-15 minutes, then add in the chickpeas, hearts of palm, capers and black olives and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Finally add in the banana peppers and chopped fresh parsley, taste, and season with additional salt and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, the final cooking time should ideally be around 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Taste for additional seasoning (salt, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar).
Garnish the bowls of bacalao with extra fresh parsley and serve with a good chunk of bread and a glass of your favorite red or white wine (my suggestions are listed below).