Salt cod is usually considered a northern Italian ingredient, but it is occasionally used in Puglian dishes, especially in the winter. It is heartier than fresh fish and has a much stronger flavor. You can find salt cod in large supermarkets; if your market does not carry it regularly, it can order it for you. Salt cod can keep for a while in the fridge before it is soaked, so I usually have some on hand in the winter. Salt-cod stews such as this one are full of flavor yet also light. They make perfect comfort food in the colder months.
1. Soak the cod in cold water (in the refrigerator) for at least 24 hours, changing the water twice.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
3. In a large, oven-safe pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes, until soft. Add the tomatoes and their juice and cook for another 5 minutes, until the tomato sauce starts to thicken. Add the olives and the fish, decrease the heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and finish cooking in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot.
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