In the days before fridges, salting our food was a necessity in order to preserve it, but nowadays the salting process is used more to create luxury dishes. Over the years there has been more understanding about the way that salt can change the flavour and texture of certain foods, and salted cod – or bacalao – as it is known in Spain – in particular has maintained its popularity. It can be used in such dishes as brandade and salt cod fritters. The same goes for salted and preserved anchovies, and even salt beef, which can be used in many ways other than in sandwiches. The method of salting draws moisture out of the food, and this explains why cold preserved fish, such as smoked salmon, is first salted or cured before the smoking process – as it loses moisture, the flesh of the fish firms up and this makes it easier to carve.
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