"Bacalao"—cod—is very easily preserved, making it highly prized throughout the Iberian Peninsula. In periods of war and food shortages, it was a means of survival, and today is one of the key ingredients in Spanish cuisine, used in dozens of different dishes.
Before cooking, the cod loins must be desalted. They are placed in a refrigerator in a container of water, which is changed approximately every 6 hours for 2 days. The "pil-pil" sauce, which traditionally accompanies fish in Basque cuisine, would seem to be a simple recipe given its ingredients. But some real skill is needed to achieve the final result: the pan must be moved to stir the liquid, relying solely on the gelatin from the fish and olive oil to thicken the sauce without adding any starch.