Tropical Starches with Salted Cod

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Latin American Paleo Cooking Over 80 Traditional Recipes Made Grain and Gluten FreeThis is a very traditional Puerto Rican dish that is especially popular during Lent and around the holidays. This is the version passed down in Milagros’s family. The word viandas describes the various starchy roots and tubers in typical Latin American cuisine.

  • Yield: 10 Servings


  • 1 lb (455 g) bacalao (salted codfish)
For the Viandas
  • 8 green bananas
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ lb (225 g) peeled yuca, cut into 2” (5-cm) cubes
  • ½ lb (225 g) peeled malanga, cut into 2” (5-cm) cubes
  • ½ lb (225 g) white ñame, cut into 2” (5-cm) cubes
For the Bacalao, Dressing and Garnish
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ½ large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 ajíes dulces, or ½ small red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 tbsp (10 g) minced garlic
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) coconut vinegar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp fine Himalayan salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 6 slices each
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
How to Make It
  1. A day in advance, soak the bacalao. Place it in a bowl and cover with water, changing the water 4 to 6 times over the next 24 hours, or according to the package directions. Bacalao is ready when it does not taste salty. Drain the desalinated bacalao and shred it into small pieces, using your fingers, removing and discarding any bone pieces.
  2. To prepare the viandas, cut the tips off the bananas and cut a slit down the length of the peel. Place them in a bowl and cover with water. Add the salt to the water and allow them to soak for 15 minutes to loosen the peel. Remove the peel and cut the bananas into 1-inch (2.5-cm) disks. Place the bananas, yuca, malanga and ñame in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, or until everything is fork-tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the bacalao. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Cook the onions, peppers and garlic for 5 to 7 minutes, until everything has softened some but is not completely wilted. Add the shredded bacalao and cook about 2 minutes more, just enough to warm the fish. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Prepare the dressing: In a bowl, combine the vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper.
  5. On a large serving platter, arrange the cooked starches in a single layer. Add the bacalao mixture on top and pour the dressing evenly over the entire dish. Arrange the avocado slices and tomato wedges around the edges of the serving platter. For best results cover and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving as a cold salad.

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