By Joe Ray
Bacalao - salt cod - has never been my favorite. Catalans do backflips for it, but to me, there are so few aha! moments, I never quite understand the bother or the price.
To set me straight, my ever-helpful Barcelona tipster, food writer Carme Gasull, took pity on me and sent me to the Masclans kiosk in the Galvany market on the far side of Avinguida Diagonal. The only tourists up this way are lost.
First, the negotiations: three of us would like to try Esteve Masclans’ bacalao and there are no tables at his kiosk. The man behind the counter works out a deal where we’ll eat the fish at the tables of a nearby bar/food stall whose beer we will happily drink.
Our meal begins with a dive in the deep end.
“Start with this,” the waiter says. “It’s chick peas and bacalao spine.”
Technically, it’s the tissue inside the spine and my friends look at each other like they’re wondering what they’re in for, but it disappears in a flash. It’s possible I ate the whole thing. I don’t remember.
Masclans are masters of sous-vide, slow-cooking much of their bacalao in a vac-pac bag and we try a few variations - one with tomatoes, one with truffle another with a type of mirepoix. Sweet and silky, the tomato preparation is the landslide winner.
The best dish, however, is carpaccio-style translucent bacalao rounds, each disc with a pea-sized dot of olive paste, the whole drizzled in healthy quantities olive oil, accompanied by a scattering of sofregit-esque fresh tomato sauce. The fish is the star, of course, but it gracefully shares the stage with its friends.
Count on about 15€ for lunch, including beer from the neighbors.
Masclans - MAP
Mercat de Galvany
+34 93 200 99 27