Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead

Franco&HitlerIf you were alive in 1975 and watched the first season of Saturday Night Live, you will remember Chevy Chase’s frequent catch phrase. It was used to mock the media’s weeks-long obsession with Franco’s precarious health.

Franco was born in the Spanish province of Galicia in 1892. He died (really) on November 20, 1975. This is just a flimsy excuse to introduce the famous Galician sauce ajada — a pungent condiment made of olive oil garlic, paprika, and vinegar that can by used over steamed or grilled fish or in a stew as in the recipe below. Ajada translates as “thing made with garlic.”

Galician fish stew (Caldeirada)

1 1/2 lb. fresh white fish fillets (cod, halibut, or hake work well)
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 qt. water
1 onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 T. sweet pimentón (paprika)
2 T. wine vinegar

Cut the fish fillets into chunks and place the fish in a bowl. Sprinkle one-half teaspoon salt and toss with the fish, then set the fish aside for 30 minutes before adding to the soup.

Put the potatoes in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot with the water, onion, bay leaves and 1½ t. salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chunks of fish and continue to simmer for 15 minutes more, or until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the oil over high heat and sauté the chopped garlic until golden, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pimentón and vinegar. This is the ajada sauce.

When the potatoes are tender and the fish just flakes, remove the fish and potatoes to a large serving bowl or tureen. Add the ajada sauce to the remaining broth. Bring quickly to a boil, stirring, then pour it over the fish and potatoes. Discard bay leaf.

Serves 4

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