Q: Why cant I find Boneless Skinless Salted cod from Norway?
A: It is uncommon to find this fish in that form in Europe as the cost increase (Boneless) versus the convenience is not something sought after there.
A popular boneless skinless brand in the marketplace with the name “El Noruego” brand are processed mostly in China as the process to debone and deskin is mostly a manual and expensive process. Due to that added cost the typical boneless skinless product is also not as well cured as that would further reduce the weight and increase the price.
The actual fish used is also either from the Pacific or Atlantic to further maintain a lower cost.
Q: Why cant fresh or non salted cod be substituted in Salted cod dishes?
A: The curing process transforms a very mild and almost bland fish into a meaty, flaky, flavorful delight of which the uncured form cannot substitute for. Think other cured food products – Jamón (salted, aged and dried), Salami (salted, seasoned), Bacon (salted, smoked, dried). Salting fish is a chemical process that transforms it.
Q: Is dark or yellowish color bacalhau mean good, bad, old?
A: Most people do prefer the appearance of salted cod with a lighter / whiter coloration. But for that to occur it means that the codfish gets a lesser cure. Proper curing involves a heavy salting process, plus good drying process. These two steps give the fish a light yellow coloration and a unique flavor. Upon rehydrating and desalting most fish restore to a mostly white color. (see an example of that here)
Q: Out of the fridge / Storing & Transporting it / Very strong smell upon receiving it and during the cooking process has it good bad?
A: While Salted cod can go bad usually this reaction is from those unfamiliar with it. This first impression is usually because salted cod constantly losses moisture outside of refrigeration and due to the humidity in the vicinity it has a strong scent. The quality of the curing salting process is most important to its shelf life and its ability to withstand environment outside of refrigeration. In order to best transport or preserve the salted cod it should either have low humidity (hang it where a some airflow is present) or wrap in breathable moisture absorbent material. Humidity and Temperature fluctuations combined are the enemy of this marvelous curing innovation.
Instructions: Upon receiving salted cod you should place in the refrigerator to rebalance the humidity and therefore the strong scent will moderate.
After doing this, signs that the product is spoiled would include some pinkish blotches or a very sharp acidic odor (different then the just out of the fridge salted cod scent).