This spicy, boldly flavored dish from the Dominican Republic will surely stir your senses in the morning. Made from scraps of fish from the night before or a small piece of bacalao (dried salted cod), this hash is a welcome addition to the breakfast table. You can serve it up with a side of scrambled eggs, or mix the eggs right in with the hash. The long and flat dumplings are the perfect accompaniment to the salt-cured fish. They take no time at all to make, and as little time to cook. Remember to squeeze a good amount of lime juice, preferably from a Caribbean or key lime, over everything just before serving.
If you have the chance to visit the Dominican Republic, be sure to take in some of the local cuisine. While the food of this island nation may take a backseat to its many spectacular beaches and views, you will nonetheless find some exquisite homestyle dishes meticulously prepared in neighborhood cafes along the coast and in small towns and villages.
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SALTED COD HASH WITH SCRAMBLED EGGS & DUMPLINGS
1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ TSP salt
Hash & Eggs:
½ lb salted cod (bacalao), covered with water by 2 inches and soaked for 6 to 8 hours
1 medium Yukon gold or red potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
4 TBSP cooking oil, like grapeseed or canola
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 medium red or green bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch squares
1½ TBSP tomato paste mixed with ½ cup water
½ TSP freshly ground black pepper
2 stalks scallion, finely sliced into rings
4-6 eggs, beaten
2 limes, cut in half for serving
¼-½ TSP cayenne pepper (optional)
- To make the dough, Place 1 cup of the flour in a large bowl and keep the remaining ¼ cup handy. Add the salt and ½ cup water and mix with a fork until all the liquid has been absorbed. Work the dough with your hands into one manageable ball. If the dough is wet and sticky, work in some of the remaining flour, a little at a time, until it no longer sticks to your fingers.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 3 or 4 minutes. Sprinkle with flour if it gets a little sticky. The dough will be soft and stretchy. Return the dough to the bowl, cover, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, drain the fish and place in a small pot. Pour in 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, lower heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes. Pull off a small piece of fish and taste for saltiness. If the fish is too salty for your taste, drain and replenish with water, re-boil, and simmer 5 to 10 minutes longer.
- Drain the fish into a colander and place under cold running water until cool enough to handle. Flake the fish into small pieces, carefully removing any small bones, and place in a bowl. Refill the pot halfway with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them into the bowl with the fish. Keep the water at gentle simmer until you are ready to cook the dumplings.
- Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Mix in the bell pepper and cook until both the onion and pepper are soft, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the fish and potatoes and then the tomato water and cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the scallions and black pepper. Cover and keep warm while you cook dumplings and eggs.
- Line a tray with a smooth kitchen towel and dust with a little flour. Shape the dough into a log on a floured surface, and cut it into 8 even pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 5-inch log, flatten until about ¼-inch thick, and place on the tray.
- Bring the water back to a boil over high heat. Gently drop the dough logs, a few at a time, into the water. Once all of the dumplings have floated to the surface, cook 2 minutes longer, then drain into a colander.
- While the dumplings are cooking, heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs are cooked but still a little runny. Divide the dumplings, eggs and hash among individual serving dishes and sprinkle with lime juice and cayenne pepper, if using, just before serving.
Variation: You can substitute the salted cod with double the amount of any cooked flaky whitefish. Season the dish to taste with salt and pepper.